Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What Is the World Bank?

All this talk about Wolfowitz got me to thinking about the World Bank and how we classify it. The definitions Google came up with ranged from amusing to overly-rosy. Its short history makes it similar to the UN, created in the wake of WWII and aimed at both European reconstruction and prevention of future disasters. But what category it falls into is somewhat more complicated. It's not in possession of any one government, even though "by tradition" an American is appointed as its leader by our president. I've certainly seen enough documentaries explaining why the World Bank is evil -- making exorbitant loans to corrupt governments and then squeezing repayment out of already-poor countries. What's scary is that there's no oversight on the World Bank except that which it supplies itself. Perhaps that's why it's easier to take out Wolfowitz with a personal scandal.

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