This volume--the fifth in a series of histories of the International Monetary Fund--examines the 1990s, a tumultuous decade in which the IMF faced difficult challenges and took on new and expanded roles. Among these were assisting countries that had long operated under central planning to manage transitions toward market economies, helping countries in financial crisis after sudden loss of support from private financial markets, adapting surveillance to reflect the growing acceptance of international standards for economic and financial policies, helping low-income countries grow and begin to eradicate poverty while staying within its mandate as a monetary institution, and providing adequate financial assistance to members in an age of limited official resources. The IMF's successes and setbacks in facing these challenges provide valuable lessons for an uncertain future.
Note: Page numbers followed by f, n, or t refer to figures, footnotes, or tables, respectively.
The Cherokee are a nation of Native Americans, with a distinct language. During the Second World War (when Keynes made his reference), the U.S. Army employed Cherokee and other Native Americans as “code talkers” to convey secret information.
The one exception in this period was Oleh Havrylyshyn, who served as Alternate to the Executive Director from the Netherlands from 1993 to 1996. A native of Ukraine (when it was part of the Soviet Union), Havrylyshyn at that time was a citizen of Canada.
Readers seeking a more detailed introduction to the structure and governance of the Fund may wish to begin by reading Chapter 17. Appendix II of that chapter presents a complete list of constituencies and Executive Directors for the 1990s. For a more detailed guide to the operations of the Fund, see IMF, Treasurer’s Office (2001).
When a member country draws on its reserve tranche, which represents international reserve assets that the member has deposited with the Fund (and in effect still owns), the drawing is not a credit, and the member has no obligation to repay it.
With few exceptions, the exchange rate between dollars and SDRs is the monthly average rate at the time of the reported transaction or commitment. For example, the dollar value of a stand-by arrangement is converted from the SDR value at the exchange rate prevailing at the time of the commitment, not at the exchange rate that prevailed afterward during the life of the arrangement. In the 1990s, the monthly average dollar value of the SDR ranged from a low of $1.30 in April 1990 to a high of $1.58 in April 1995. Its average value was $1.40.
For specific and current information on access to the archives, see http://www.imf.org/external/np/arc/eng/archive.htm or search for “archives” on http://www.imf.org. Footnotes in this book cite Executive Board documents using standard IMF notation: TT/yy/nn, where TT is the type of document, yy is the year of issue, and nn is the number within that year’s series of such documents. For a list of document types cited in this History, see section C of the Abbreviations. Citations to internal memorandums and other unnumbered documents include the location of the document in the archives.
The Fund’s charter specifies that “the staff of the Fund, in the discharge of their functions, shall owe their duty entirely to the Fund and to no other authority” (Article XII, Section 4(c)). On appointment, each staff member must “solemnly affirm … that I will accept no instruction in regard to the performance of my duties from any government or authority external to the Fund” (Rule N-14). To an extraordinary degree, Fund staff have demonstrated an ability to operate as international civil servants.
The positions listed for individuals identified with specific countries are not comprehensive. Where two or three position titles are listed, the first ones generally refer to key positions held during the period covered in this book. The last usually indicates the individual’s position at the time of the interview. (In a number of cases, these individuals subsequently held higher positions.)
Former staff who held senior government positions in the 1990s are listed under their home country, as are Executive Directors and their staff. Other former staff and retirees are included in this first list.
For all its weaknesses, the League of Nations did undertake certain economic tasks, including lending for financial stabilization. It also demonstrated the potential benefits of multilateral economic cooperation, at least to those who worked there. Its staff included a highly distinguished cadre of economists, several of whom later greatly influenced the IMF through their work (e.g., Tjalling Koop-mans, Ragnar Nurkse, and Jan Tinbergen), by joining the staff (e.g., Jacques Polak and Marcus Fleming), or even becoming head of the institution (Per Jacobsson). For an analysis of the economic work of the League, see Pauly (1997). For a brief memoir, see Polak (1994), pp. xiv–xv.
U.S. Treasury, “Preliminary Draft Proposal for a United Nations Stabilization Fund and a Bank for Reconstruction and Development of the United and Associated Nations (April 1942)”; Horsefield, (1969), Vol. III, pp. 37–82.
This argument should not be carried so far as to imply that multilateralism died altogether after the Second World War. The establishment of the Marshall Plan in 1947 and the global agreement in 1968 to create Special Drawing Rights are two prominent examples in the positive column.
Largely, but not exclusively. Yugoslavia was an original member, Romania joined in 1972, Vietnam remained a member after its unification in 1975, the China seat passed to the People’s Republic in 1980, and a few more centrally planned economies—notably Hungary and Poland—joined in the 1980s.
As of 2001, a little more than 40 percent of IMF economists were from developing countries. Some 4 percent were from the Russian Federation, the Baltic countries, other countries of the former Soviet Union, or Eastern Europe.