Perpetuating Poverty: The World Bank, the IMF, and the Developing World

In This Review

Perpetuating Poverty: The World Bank, the IMF, and the Developing World

Edited by Doug Bandow and Ian Vasquez
The Cato Institute, 1994
362 pp. $25.95
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This volume contains 16 chapters by nearly as many authors, devoted to demonstrating how misguided, and often positively harmful, multilateral assistance to developing countries has been, mainly because it has tended to reinforce the statist inclinations of the leaders of many developing countries.

Some essays are tendentious, dated, and highly misleading. But others are well documented and strike home in significant respects, such as the proclivity of the IMF toward secrecy far beyond the short-term confidentiality necessary for financial policymaking. Above all, they make the case for more frequent and more critical reviews of the objectives of the multilateral lending institutions and the effectiveness of their operations toward attaining those objectives.

Notwithstanding the title, the book also contains a harsh indictment of U.S. and European trade policies toward developing countries. Americans often complain about unfair trade practices abroad; here is documented, inter alia, the extreme unfairness of the application of U.S. antidumping laws, especially toward the transforming economies of Central and Eastern Europe.

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