As the central institution in the international monetary and payments system, the IMF must be in a position to assist any of its member countries having balance of payments difficulties. It must also be prepared, at all times, to guard against unexpected events that might threaten the stability of the system. The IMF needs adequate financial resources to carry out these responsibilities. This is particularly important now, given the fundamental political and economic changes that are taking place in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and in many other parts of the world. This pamphlet takes a brief look at the functions of the IMF, why it needs more resources, and how these resources will be used.
THERE ARE THREE CHIEF ECONOMIC EVILS—starvation and poverty in the third world, unemployment in the industrial countries (and, in consequence, in many other countries too), and price inflation in the industrial countries that has been so fast as to be socially unacceptable at home and to complicate immensely social and economic adjustment in much of the rest of the world. Some would argue that together these evils constitute unshakable evidence of the malfunctioning of the international economic system. But that was not the theme or conclusion of the discussions held under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund and the Overseas Development Institute at Windsor at the end of March 1985. The approach was different. The analysis concentrated on more particular and technical issues, not because the individuals concerned (or the organizations they worked for) ignored the major problems, or believed that they were beyond human intervention, but because the task was to consider international monetary adaptation. The concern was with the way that aspect of the general economic system worked, how it could be improved, and whether it had fundamental flaws that seemed to call for radical change.