World Bank Follies: Deeper than Wolfowitz's Pants


In yesterday's Washington Post, international development aid critic William Easterly, author of The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good, takes on the Wolfowitz kerfuffle and point out the problems with the World Bank go way deeper than Wolfowitz's pants:

Just as Wolfowitz arrived at the bank in 2005, it produced a report on "Lessons of the 1990s." The lessons were that the bank did not know which lessons to teach; the report showed that countries that had ignored bank dogma (China, Vietnam, India) were thriving, while those under bank tutelage (Russia, Argentina, Zambia) did poorly.

Wolfowitz also continued a disastrous trend begun by Wolfensohn, whose answer to every bank failure to meet a goal was to add three new goals. The pair have supplemented the bank's original objective—promoting economic growth—with everything from securing children's rights to promoting world peace. In so doing, they've sacrificed clarity of direction for ludicrously infeasible but PR-friendly slogans like "empowering the poor" and "attaining the Millennium Development Goals" (which cover every last ounce of human suffering).

I wrote an account of another international do-gooder org, the World Health Organization, similarly falling afoul of mission creep while failing at its core values back in January 2002.

NEXT: Geek Bucks in Politics

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good

    Who wrote that title, Ezra Klein?

  2. Hey, hey, hey! I read all about this on the WSJ editorial page. None of this is Wolfowitz’s fault. Everything he does is above board and all the problems with the World Bank are problems in spite of him. He is a god amongst men and the Amazon rain forest was created when his semen was spilled as he shtupped Mother Gaia. Ordinary men like ourselves should be gracious and humbled that he allows us to share the planet.

  3. Golly Jesus. A extra-governmental world development agency doesn’t know what it’s doing? Shocking, shocking.

    If only someone, you know, perhaps a social scientist, like an economist or two maybe, possibly of the free-market variety, could have predicted this was going to happen. [/sarcasm]

  4. The World Bank is an Illuminati organization meant to bring about destruction.

  5. I’ve heard plenty of stuff that makes me no fan of Wolfie’s. But pissing off a bunch of entrenched World Bank employees does not strike me as a negative thing per se.

    Christopher Hitchens did a bit in defense of Shaha Riza on NPR the other day.

    Essentially that she is a brilliant person in her own right and does not need someone pulling strings for her, so the whole accusation is ridiculous as well as insulting.

  6. So, wait, does this mean that we can agree witht he leftists on this on? The World Bank is a Bad Thing, yes? This is a good liberaltarian issue.

    If you are a retard, spend some time in Mexico to see how bad it is.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.