In This Review

Silent Revolution: The International Monetary Fund, 1979-1989
Silent Revolution: The International Monetary Fund, 1979-1989
By James M. Boughton
International Monetary Fund, 2001, 1111 pp

This massive volume is the fourth in a series of semiofficial histories of the International Monetary Fund, written by insiders with full access to IMF documents. They have also enjoyed full freedom in deciding how to treat their material, which has increasingly been made available to outside researchers since 1996. This volume starts with the Iranian Revolution and the second world oil shock and ends with the fall of the Berlin Wall and communism's demise in eastern Europe. It covers the fund's growing global perspective, its efforts to cajole its major members into improved macroeconomic policies, its approach to the international debt crisis of the 1980s, and its movement into structural adjustment lending in the mid-1980s. The account stops too soon to include the IMF's role in the economic transformation from communism to free markets. Among the more fascinating stories is the tension between the fund and the United States during the rapidly growing budget deficits of the first Reagan administration. An authoritative source for anyone studying the world economy of the 1980s.