U.S. Hegemony and International Organizations: The United States and Multilateral Institutions

By Rosemary Foot; S. Neil MacFarlane et al. | Go to book overview

4 The United States and the International Financial Institutions: Power and Influence Within the World Bank and the IMF

Ngaire Woods

The United States enjoys a special position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. When the institutions were created, their structure, location, and mandate were all pretty much determined by the United States. 1 The United States had just over a third of the voting power in each institution. 2 No drawing from the IMF was approved without US agreement first being made clear. 3 These observations suggest that the US was set to play a dominant role in the institutions.

Yet neither the Fund nor the Bank can be cast as a mere instrument of US policy. To some extent the institutions were created in order to propound and enforce US-supported aims and policies around the world. It is also true that the Fund and the Bank exist because their 'neutral and apparently technical advice may be less offensive to national sentiments than direct intervention by the United States', in the case of the World Bank 'sparing the USA the unsavory epithets of . . . “aid with strings”, “arm-twisting political pressures” etc.'. 4

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