Why do we need the IMF?
Smoothing the bumps in the flow of foreign exchange

Why Do We Need the IMF?

Money and wealth in Yak Before people from different countries can buy or sell anything to each other, they have to solve a basic problem. Buyers have to be able to change their money from their country's currency to the seller's national currency. This is called "foreign exchange." Each currency, whether it's the US dollar or the Haitian gourde, has a value in terms of other currencies. This is the "exchange rate." Without a reliable supply of foreign exchange in each country, and without relatively stable exchange rates, world trade would drop drastically. You wouldn't be wearing tennis shoes made in Asia, or eating an apple grown in New Zealand.

The International Monetary Fund was founded over 50 years ago to allow currency to be exchanged freely and easily between member countries. Today, the IMF works to help member countries ensure that they always have enough foreign exchange to continue to do business with the rest of the world.

The following imaginary scenario attempts to picture what would happen if the IMF did not exist. It tells the story of a businessperson in a fictional developing country that is suffering from a shortage of foreign exchange. In the scenario, there is no IMF to turn to in order to resolve the currency crisis. You will soon come to realize the difficulties of carrying on international trade in that imaginary world without the IMF.

To see how important foreign exchange is to trade,
travel to the mythical land of Yak in a world without the IMF.
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