The year 2023 marks 79 years since the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference created what would become the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG).
For almost 80 years, the IMF-WBG have since left their mark on economies especially in the global South – often with adverse consequences.
Today, their legacies and ongoing influence casts a shadow over the world, with policies that often harm those they claim to help. The 2023 Annual Meetings will be held in a continent wracked by colonialism and continuing economic and political interventions by powers and global institutions.
With today’s multiple crises, the dominant power in the IMF-WBG, the United States, has called on these institutions to re-tool and adapt, borrowing seemingly progressive language on gender, climate change, health, and fragility and conflict. But glossy words cannot cover up their track record. Nor can they conceal ongoing harms.
Holding the IMF-WBG accountable would need tracing their concrete harms and decades-long track record, while amplifying peoples’ resistance — this requires building a comprehensive and strong narrative, a “peoples’ history” of the IMF-WBG.
The Reclaim Our Future Conference aims to contribute to this peoples’ history, as the Bretton Woods Conference turned 79 this year, and will mark eight decades next year.