Have you ever wondered who are the people really running the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund? How do they get their money? What’s the difference between the two institutions?
Well, here’s a concise IMF/WB 101 from the Third World Traveler:
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are run by their member governments, but not on the basis of one-country-one-vote. Instead, governments have votes based on the amount of money they pay in to the organizations. In this sense, they operate much like private corporations, except that the owners of shares are governments instead of individuals.
The U.S. government has by far the largest share of votes in both the IMF and World Bank and, along with its closest allies, effectively controls their operations. In 1998, the U.S. held 18% of the votes in the IMF and 15% in the World Bank. Together, the United States, Germany, Japan, the U.K. and France control about 40% of the shares in both institutions. With the rest of the shares spread among 175 other member governments, some holding a tiny number of votes, the United States is effectively in charge.