Abstract: Conflicts and Cooperation: The IMF and Scandinavia, 1944-1960s

Gunhild J. Ecklund


Since its conception in July 1944, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been an important promoter of globalization by facilitating the growth of world trade and international market integration. Today, the IMF sets strict conditions of economic transformation and liberalization in order to provide financial and technical assistance to member countries. Historically, however, the Fund has not always had the power and legitimacy to force its demands. Based on a comparative study of relations between the IMF and three Scandinavian countries from 1944 until the 1960s, in this paper I demonstrate that in its early history, the IMF faced fierce opposition from governments that questioned the organization's right to intervene in domestic matters. I examine how and why the Scandinavian countries built different relationships with the IMF, ranging from relatively relaxed cooperation in the Danish case to extremely tense relations in the case of Sweden. I also suggest that the IMF responded very cautiously to such opposition, and adapted its advice to what was politically acceptable in the various member countries.

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