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The advent of the Bush Administration has seen a peculiar mutation in the debates around the world financial institutions, as centre-left economists, born-again European speculators and ngos rush to defend, as admirably ‘multilateral’, instruments that have long served to forward the interests and primacy of us capital. That there are problems with the imf, World Bank and World Trade Organization is not denied; but greater transparency and accountability, more consultation, flexibility and sensitivity to the environment and other ‘public goods’ could help transform them into beneficial agencies for more redistributive economic growth.
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