What role does the International Monetary Fund play in undeveloped countries? 

The IMF is a major factor in analyzing and helping to fund undeveloped countries. Its role is a financial counselor and financial source for administration of funds. In a larger sense, the IMF does promote an ideology of international capitalism that is commonly referred to as neoliberalism. In turn, this preference by the IMF serves to expand and enlarge upon the philosophy of economic "market determinism," meaning that countries must adjust their fiscal policies and monetary policy to the dictates of the market. Unfortunately, but true, this approach is nearly mathematical to an extreme, thus, eliminating the element of human compassion and concern for common welfare.

Does the United States uses IMF as a tool to implement its policies in poor countries? How?

This is a leading question that obviously opens discussion to U.S. foreign policy. Yes, the U.S. does have a predominate influence over the IMF and is a major contributor. Whether the IMF is a "tool" of American foreign policy is open to debate, but clearly, the U.S. has extraordinary influence over IMF decisions, regardless of whether the IMF is held out as an independent entity. The U.S., as the most powerful nation in the world, is instrumental with all independent agencies like the IMF and the World Bank and has been since inception. It is fair to say the U.S. conducts foreign policy by exercising its influence over these entities. However, the "how" aspect is not clearly available for public perusal. Still, it is fair to say that IMF policy reflects the desires of the U.S., Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan to disproportionate degrees vis a vis the world community. Both the IMF and the World Bank are part of United Nations system, and thus, subject to the approval of the world community; however, it is well known that UN policy is dictated by a handful of major economies. 

Are the IMF and the World Bank colonial tools to exploit poor countries, especially Muslim majority countries? If so, please explain.

This is a leading question. Whether it is fair to state that the entities are "tools to exploit" poor countries is a challenging request. Certainly, the mandates of these entities is not to "exploit" other countries. So, purely from a legal basis, the answer is no, they are not designed to "exploit." However, in practice, history provides some guide posts that clearly indicate that poor countries have been exploited ever since Western Civilization commenced colonization practices of poor countries a few centuries ago. This is not open to dispute. After all, it led to the slave trade and horrible exploitation of poor countries. This is fact and well known, and frankly, it continues to this day but more generally under the guise of corporate exploitation rather than nation/states. In fact, mega-corporations have overtaken the role in the world of commerce and exploitation over that of the nation/states. Thus, the question of whether the IMF and World Bank serve as "tools" has become somewhat moot, but not nonexistent. Of course the IMF and the World Bank work at the discretion of Western countries that support corporate development around the world. So, in this sense they are tied at the hip, which presents an interesting circular argument that the IMF and the World Bank are ultimately "tools" for neoliberal expansion throughout the world, thus, complicit with whatever mega-corporations elect to do since mega-corporations influence world development much more so than the old order of nation/states.

What has changed in the Middle Eastern countries in the past decades? Have the loans given by IMF and the World Bank helped them?

The major changes amongst Middle Eastern countries over the past decade have mostly been attributed to U.S./UK foreign policy, i.e., meddling in the affairs of other nation/states in the faux name of spreading democratic spirits. However, at this juncture in time, it has become glaringly obvious that oil is the fatal attraction to the Middle East. In turn, this quest for control of one of the most valuable resources in the world has resulted in continual disaster, one after another. Thus, the Middle East is a tinderbox seldom experienced in modern history as a result of bungled meddling by Western interests. This is patently obvious. Whether loans given by the IMF and World Bank have helped or hindered the quagmire is difficult to discern, and this is likely less significant to the status of Middle Eastern countries than is outright meddling by the U.S./UK juggernaut. 

What does the future have for the third world countries if the IMF and the World Bank continue their modern colonial policies in those countries?

Again, this is a leading question, but it is fair to say that the IMF and World Bank reflect the interests of the major Western nation/states and mega-corporations of the world more so than internally-derived policy. As such, third world countries are subservient to Western interests with the IMF and World Bank serving merely as instruments that are subservient to the major nation/states. This has always been the case and it is doubtful it will change anytime soon. The real question is what must occur for third world countries to stand alone, to break away from a past of subordination to Western interests. This question clearly does not have a ready answer at the moment. It is likely that the third world shall continue its struggle, which unfortunately, breeds discontent and hatred, which in turn, leads to splinter groups of radicalism that move outside the boundaries of normal diplomacy, outside the normal path of  economic development, outside of the structure of legality. This, in turn, can only lead to more frustration and desperate measures by all sides. In point of fact, there are no ready answers at the moment.


Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history, DePaul University) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide, like Z magazine, European Project on Ocean Acidification, Ecosocialism Canada, Climate Himalaya, Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Comite Valmy, and UK Progressive. He has been interviewed about climate change on Pacifica Radio, KPFK, FM90.7, Indymedia On Air and World View Show/UK.