Multiculturalism and the Bretton Woods Institutions
Multiculturalism and International Law: Essays in Honour of Edward McWhinney (Sienho Yee & Jaques-Yvan Morin eds., Martinus Nijhoff, 2009)
28 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2013
Date Written: 2009
Multiculturalism has many aspects and broad ramifications. To begin with multiculturalism is an empirical and sociological fact. Multiple cultures exist and these are superimposed upon multiple national states in ever changing ways. These different cultures develop, interact and at times conflict. The multiculturalist view is that mutual respect and recognition of these cultures are essential if they are to work together in a positive way. This is as true in international law and organization as it is in other fields.
The implications of multiculturalism for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the so-called Bretton Woods institutions, are of particular interest. The Bank and Fund are both multilateral institutions with considerable financial resources as well as unparalleled clout with private financial institutions. They differ in that the basic mission of the Bank is to provide support to developing countries while the IMF was created to stabilize the international monetary system and to monitor the world’s currencies.
This essay argues that, despite their deficiencies, the Bretton Woods institutions can play an essential role in promoting multiculturalism, human rights and the rule of law, but will be most effective only if they learn to practice and respect these same principles in their own decision-making and other internal practices. Their credibility and ultimate future success depend on it. If the Bretton Woods institutions are to achieve their liberal free-market goals of in the future, US and European leaders can no longer claim the exclusive right to determine who will lead them.
Keywords: multiculturalism, international law, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, IMF, Bretton Woods institutions, human rights, rule of law, monetary system
JEL Classification: K30, K33, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation