The end of the 21st Century is still characterised by geopolitical fluidity and socio-economic effervescence that lead us to challenge the sovereignty of states. Global economic governance has become increasingly institutionalised, greater interdependence and manifestations of transnational harm have resulted in intensified efforts to coordinate outcomes at the global level.
Criticism of the World Bank and the IMF encompasses a whole range of issues but they generally centre on concerns about the approaches adopted by the two institutions in formulating their policies, and the way they are governed. This includes the socio-economic impact these policies have on the population of countries who avail themselves of financial assistance from these two institutions, and accountability for these impacts. This article makes the premise that the World Bank and IMF governance structures provide clear levers through which materially powerful states exert influence, and how lower-income states’ dependence on resource flows from the Bank and the Fund mean that inequality is hard-wired into these arenas of global economic governance. There is little doubt that these organisations are used by the powerful nations as selective instruments for gaining foreign and domestic policy objectives.