Economic management is the ultimate focus of this paper: the use of policy instruments to deal with the occurrence of destabilising forces; to avoid the instability or to offset its adverse effects. But before enquiring deeply about how this may be attempted, and about the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in this context, it is first necessary to establish the extent to which instability is a problem in developing countries, and to say as much as is possible at a general level about its causes. Is there particularly severe instability in developing economies? How large are the movements in question? Do they seriously reduce human welfare and the achievement of government objectives? Are they typically imported from outside, a cost of integration into the world economy, or initiated by forces at home? It is with questions such as these that this paper is concerned.