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How valid were Third World criticisms of international economy between 1945 and 1991?

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With the end of the Second World War in 1945 came the reconstruction and development of the global economy via such pillars of multilateralism as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). At this point I must specify that the ?international economy" comprises, in name, of the economies of the developed, or First World countries; communist, or Second World countries; and developing, or Third World countries; however, by ?international economy ?, in the post-war context, I refer mainly to the economies of the First and Third Worlds (and not the Second), due to the fact that the latter had a closed economy for political reasons. The international economy, under the direction of the multi-national institutions, then met with criticisms from the Third World: for example, GATT did not foster trade in primary products, the basis of most Third World economies, as it did with other products; the voting power in the IMF was proportionate to the country's economic power, while that in the WB was proportionate to the member's contributions, both of which impeded the development and upward mobility of the Third World. In short, the complaint was that the existing international economic framework was not concerned with Third World interests, but was significantly biased in favor of the First World. In my opinion, Third World criticisms of international economy between 1945 and 1991 were, to a large extent, valid; that is to say, they were legitimate complaints that had a sound basis. During the course of my discussion I will analyse these grievances in relation to the multi-national institutions (GATT, IMF and WB), since they did have a major influence over the state of the post-war international economy.

[...] Hence, although the ways in which the IMF and the WB functioned were understandable, it is undeniable that they did not aid substantially the Third World countries; indeed, harmed them more than they helped. Therefore, I agree to a large extent that the Third World criticisms of the international economy under the workings of the IMF and WB were valid. Some may argue that the Third World did not always lose out; that these countries did grow and advance economically, too. [...]


[...] For example, with regards to the IMF and WB loans, at times emphasis was not on appraising loan quality but on keeping the flow of capital running so that the deflationary potential inherent in the oil price rise would not choke off exports to the Third World from the industrial economies.?14 Thus, in conclusion, I think that the Third World criticisms of the international economy between 1945 and 1991 were, to a large extent, valid. After all, MNIs [multi-national institutions] have directed their efforts toward structuring the economies of the Third World to fit the evolving requirements of the industrial countries rather than meeting the fundamental needs of their populations.? Walters, Robert S., and David H. Blake, The Politics of Global Economic Relations. USA: Prentice Hall page Ibid, page Girling, Robert Henriques, Multinational Institutions and the Third World. New York: Praenger Publishers page Ibid, page 157. [...]


[...] Course Title: History 9067/3: International History 1991 JC 2 TERM 1 ASSIGNMENT How valid were Third World criticisms of international economy between 1945 and 1991? With the end of the Second World War in 1945 came the reconstruction and development of the global economy via such pillars of multilateralism as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). At this point I must specify that the ?international economy" comprises, in name, of the economies of the developed, or First World countries; communist, or Second World countries; and developing, or Third World countries; however, by ?international economy in the post-war context, I refer mainly to the economies of the First and Third Worlds (and not the Second), due to the fact that the latter had a closed economy for political reasons. [...]


[...] The non-tariff barriers also became onerous to the Third World. By this I do not mean to suggest that it was not a burden to the First World, but to point out that it was a hugely disproportionate one to the Third World relative to the First. It would be one-sided to ignore the attempts made to accommodate the Third World though. The Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) was given to the Third World for ten years, granting them preferential trade treatment via reduced tariffs and exemption from reciprocity. [...]


[...] It is true that internationally, wealth was generated, and reconstruction of the international economy was, to some extent, successful. However, ?Although everyone seemed to win, in fact growth was not equally distributed.?10 Besides, historians like Hobsbawm tend to agree that is now evident that the Golden Age essentially belonged to the developed capitalist countries?11 it is contentious whether the Third World economies improved substantially to be considered ?prosperous?. It is not inconceivable why the operations of the post-war multi-national institutions were largely in favour of the First World: economic and political preeminence of the United States during the 1940s and 1950s assured the creation of an international economic order that reflected American interests, however sensible such an economic order might also be, from the perspective of liberal thought, for maximising world trade flows, global Ibid, page 155. [...]

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