In the worldwide economic and debt crisis of the eighties the International Monetary Fund increasingly became the “lender of last resort” for a great many Third World countries. With world trade weak and interest rates high, a considerable number of developing countries got into serious balance-of-payments difficulties. The demand for stand-by and extended arrangements with the Fund rose dramatically. The conditions or adjustment programmes linked to this lending not infrequently led to serious social and political tensions in the countries concerned. The term “IMF riots” was coined, and the conditionality of credit again became the subject of political and academic debate.