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CNBC Poll: Whom Does the IMF Serve?

Jennifer Leigh Parker, |Writer, CNBC.com
Thursday, 22 Sep 2011 | 11:47 AM ET
IMF and World Bank Meeting - A CNBC Special Report
IMF and World Bank Meeting - A CNBC Special Report

The International Monetary Fund has endured varying levels of criticism over time, most consistently for serving Western interests over those of other, less affluent nations.

A common talking point, among critics, is the organization's voting rights, which are based on a nation's relative size in the world economy. For example, the U.S. has 371,743 votes (16.77 percent of the total), and Palau has 281 votes (0.01 percent of the total).

It follows that the IMF is controlled by the world's largest economies. Are they voting their own interests? Considering who's historically at the helm of the organization, the claim seems feasible.

The IMF leader could ostensibly come from any of its 187 member countries, but Europeans have consistently taken the helm. The current managing director, former French finance minister Christine Lagarde, is now the 11th European in charge. Her contender for the role, Mexican economist Agustin Carstens, was a longshot.

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