An international organization established in 1945 that aims to promote international trade and monetary cooperation and the stabilization of exchange rates. Member countries contribute in gold and in their own currencies to provide a reserve on which they may draw to meet foreign obligations during periods of deficit in their international balance of payments. Payments are usually made on the basis of the country’s acceptance of stipulated measures for economic correction, which often entail cuts in public expenditure and an increased cost of living, and have frequently caused controversy. It is affiliated with the United Nations, with headquarters in Washington, DC.
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