NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

For All Their Flaws, The IMF and World Bank Beat Their Critics

October 2, 2002

Should critics of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund take pleasure in being the targets last week of anti-globalist forces who tried to shut down Washington with their demonstrations? Hardly.

The Bank and the Fund are rational institutions that are at least trying to do the right thing. Where they err, it is often because the conventional wisdom among economists in general is wrong. For the most part, they promote market-oriented policies and provide a measure of discipline to wayward governments that would not otherwise exist. Both the Bank and the Fund try as best they can to learn from their mistakes.

The same cannot be said of the anti-globalists.

  • They are utterly irrational as well as being wrong, and are incapable of making or even comprehending a rational argument.
  • There is no research, no data, nor any academic literature supporting their position -- only emotion.
  • Even communism -- a monumental disaster wherever it was imposed -- had a more rational basis than the rants and tirades of the anti-globalists.
  • At least the communists tried to justify their policies on the basis of serious -- if deeply flawed -- argument, backed by logic and analysis.

The truth is that anti-globalization is simply an umbrella under which every nut group in America, both on the right and left, has gravitated. Most of the protestors probably don't even care much about international trade, the World Bank, IMF, World Trade Organization or any of the other things they profess to oppose. They are nihilists who just enjoy protesting, and who would destroy the institutions of civilization simply for the fun of it.

The Bank and the IMF aren't perfect, but they're better than the protesters.

Source: Bruce Bartlett, senior fellow, National Center for Policy Analysis, October 2, 2002.


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