International Monetary Fund Definition. The International Monetary Fund, or “IMF”, is an international organization, consisting of 185 member countries, that was set up as a result of the United Nations Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 to help stabilize world currencies, lower trade barriers, and help developing nations pay their debts. Today, the IMF states its goals as “to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements; to foster economic growth and high levels of employment; and to provide temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance of payments adjustment.” In 1995, the International Monetary Fund began work on data dissemination standards with the view of guiding IMF member countries to disseminate their economic and financial data to the public. It also offers highly leveraged loans, mainly to poorer countries and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The IMF’s activities are funded by developed nations and are sometimes the subject of intense criticism, either by the nations the IMF is helping, the nations footing the bill, or both. Typically the IMF and its supporters promote a monetarist approach. As such, devotees of supply-side economics generally find themselves in open disagreement with the IMF. Loans to dictators have also drawn criticism, and the organization is the focal point of the anti-globalization movement.
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