IMF watchers have been following the drama of the selection process, Ministers are getting ready to decide which way to cast their vote, the pundits are ready to comment, but what about the other 6 billion + people who will be at the sharp end of decisions made by the new MD? In a response to the Guardian’s poll, long-time IMF campaigner David Woodward makes a compelling case for real democratic principles to be placed at the heart of the selection process. It’s worth quoting at length:
“…the only alternative [the Guardian poll] presents to the status quo is reform to “reflect the shift in global economic power towards emerging markets”.
As the Commission on Social Determinants of Health said,
“It is only through such a system of global governance, placing fairness in health at the heart of the development agenda and genuine equality of influence at the heart of its decision-making, that coherent attention to global health equity is possible.”
Nowhere is this more true than the IMF: it has virtually run the economies of much of the developing world (with serious adverse effects on health) for much of the last 30-35 years, while itself being run by the developed country governments, who have some 60% of the votes – four times their share either of population or of membership. The US, and the US alone, has a veto on all major policy decisions – including voting reform. The voting system was created in 1944, when only a handful of developing countries were members (most still being under colonial rule), they rarely borrowed from the Fund, and IMF lending did not carry any policy conditionality. Read more of this post