Mar 2, 2012

A new boss for the World Bank

Given his usual lack of bold moves, it is highly unlikely that Obama will end the shameful practice of the US designating the World Bank boss in June when Zoellick steps down. So who is the US gonna pick? Here are some contenders: Larry Summers, Bill or Hilary Clinton, Susan Rice blah blah blah... Jeffrey Sachs writes in the Washington Post that he wants the job. Is this an important decision? Yes.

Clive Crook, from The Atlantic, puts it best:
If you need convincing about what's at stake, read Nancy Birdsall of the Center for Global Development. The World Bank's chief has enormous power within the institution, and the Bank needs to follow a substantially new course in future. The returns to choosing the right person to lead it would therefore be huge. Should it be an another American? Not in my view. The indefensible pact which gives this job to the US and the IMF job to Europe should be abrogated, and should be seen to be abrogated. If not now, when? If not by Obama, by whom? This requires a non-American to get the post. In a separate post, Birdsall disagrees. She thinks what matters is that the open, merit-based competitive process that's already supposed to be in place should be allowed to work. Then, if an American is chosen, fine. "Should an American end up as president, he or she would benefit tremendously from the legitimacy that only an open selection process can bestow." No doubt. But in that case how do you convince people that the process is what it claims to be? I'm willing to bet that neither of us will get our way.

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