Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Polly R. Allen

First Page



Today's world economy is characterized by recession, reduced growth in international trade, high oil prices, and high interest rates. Although industrial countries face these problems and the problems often originate in the industrial countries, the developing countries that are not major oil exporters are encountering particularly serious difficulties. The external pressures on these developing countries, combined with their problems of structure and policy, are causing severely reduced rates of growth, higher rates of inflation, increasing problems with balances of payments, and growing foreign debt. Because many of these difficulties arise outside these countries' economies, and because the solutions often require long-term structural adjustments, most industrial and developing countries recognize the need for expanded lending to the developing countries by the International Monetary Fund (IMF or Fund) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, commonly known as the World Bank.

The United States, by contrast, appears to be reducing its traditionally strong support for these institutions. President Reagan's opening address at the annual meeting of the IMF in 1981 was notable not for its general assertions of continued support, but for its emphasis on the need for developing countries to adopt the policies necessary to help themselves.