internation monetary fund

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Origins The need for an organization like the IMF became evident during the Great Depression that ravaged the world economy in the 1930s. Most of us are familiar with that era through dramatic photographs of farms eroding away in duststorms and of lines of jobless men waiting to enter soup kitchens. The Depression was devastating to all forms of economic life. Banks failed by the thousands, leaving bewildered depositors penniless, agricultural prices fell below the …

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…and obligations. All major countries are now members of the IMF. The formerly centrally planned economies of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have become members and are at various stages of completing their transition to market economies. Members can leave the IMF whenever they wish. Cuba, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic), Indonesia, and Poland have in fact done so in the past, although all except Cuba eventually rejoined the institution.