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Scrutinizing the role of the IMF

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn

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Bill Radke: World finance ministers are gathering today in Washington. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will brief the richest nations on the U.S. banking crisis. This weekend, the World Bank and IMF meet to discuss global strategy and how to protect the world's poorest people from the economic fallout. One question is how big a role the IMF can play in pulling the global economy out of recession. Tamara Keith reports.


Tamara Keith: When the global economy started crashing, Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn says the IMF stepped in like a firefighter.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn: During this period, I do believe that the IMF did deliver.

Earlier this month at the G-20 meeting in London, leaders decided to give the IMF $500 billion to lend out to countries in need, boosting its funding and relevance. Strauss-Kahn says the money isn't all in yet, but he thinks it will come by the end of the year.

Strauss-Kahn We already have a lot of pledges, and I believe that during the spring meeting some new ones may come.

Mark Weisbrot: I'll believe it when I see it.

Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and a critic of the IMF:

Weisbrot They're twisting a lot of countries' arms to try and get them to put up money. Even some of the European countries have reservations.

Weisbrot says the IMF is in need of reform. One problem: he says the conditions it puts on the countries it lends to end up hurting their economies rather than helping.

In Washington, I'm Tamara Keith for Marketplace.

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