For instance, the IMF often requires debtor governments to reduce subsidies to state industries during times of crisis — sometimes provoking severe civil unrest as these measures often raise the cost of previously subsidized services such as bread, milk, gasoline, and mass transit. Since many of the developing-world poor are already living at subsistence levels, a small increase in the cost of essential goods can mean economic disaster. It is not so difficult to go without a new refrigerator — but it is very difficult to go without the food to put in it. Acceptance of an IMF-prescribed plan, however, is usually seen as a sign that a country in crisis is prepared to seriously address its economic ills, regardless of the cost, paving the way for more long-term funding from the World Bank and other sources. In the end, many austerity plans imposed by the IMF eventually improve life for the poor people in developing countries, even though the short-term burdens of the readjustment plans are extremely difficult to bear.

Many developing countries — particularly the so-called middle-income countries (MICs), which have an average GDP per capita in the $1,000-to-$6,000 range — have decided to insure themselves mainly by amassing large reserves of their own, allowing them to forgo having to turn to the IMF during times of crisis. Some countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, and Indonesia, have even paid off their IMF loans early. As a response, the IMF announced plans to allow developing countries to have a greater say, including increased voting power, in deciding how the IMF is run and how funds are distributed.

The G7/G8 summits, the World Economic Forum, and the United Nations also play a useful role in helping defuse and overcome global economic crises. The G7 “Group of Seven” — becoming the G8 whenever Russia joins the meetings — is made up of the leaders of Canada, the United States, Japan, Germany, Italy, Britain, and France. Annual meetings were originally intended to provide an economic forum, giving the leaders a chance to discuss global economic issues in an intimate setting. Because of the increasing demands of the global fusion economy, the G7/G8 forum has expanded over the years to cover a wide range of international issues, such as global warming and workers' rights. A larger group, called the G20, includes representatives from the largest developing countries; and another, even larger group, called the G77, brings together leaders of most of the developing countries to discuss issues of particular importance to the emerging economies.

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