Poll: Priorities for reform at the World Bank

The World Bank has attracted criticism across the spectrum of its operations. In this poll, we highlight a selection of the concerns campaigning groups have highlighted. Which area(s) do you feel are the ripest for reform by a new World Bank president?  This is not intended to be a comprehensive agenda – suggest other important issues in the comment section at the bottom!

Continue reading

Journalist’s crib sheet: How to cover World Bank elections

The crib sheet on “how to cover African elections” [h/t Duncan Green] made it almost too easy… Freelance journalist Jina Moore complains about the typical Western media coverage of disputed elections in Africa. She says a certain stereotype of rigged elections is portrayed, while the media ignore the very free and fair elections happening elsewhere on the continent.

But the text was so easily adaptable to the World Bank! With a few tweaks (underlines are merely filling in Jina’s crib sheet, tweaks are in red), I just had to give it a go:

“These days, nowhere are crises selection processes more predictable than in the World Bank (poor/recently violent country). And yet, when they unfold as anticipated, Western policymakers and diplomats always seem caught off guard — raising questions about the competence, willingness, and commitment of the Washington-based representatives diplomatic corps and the United Nations mission to discharge their responsibilities and meet their promises for a process that is truly fair.”

“….Nothing underscores the apathy and inconsistency hypocrisy that characterize Western diplomacy in the World Bank more than the current impasse… Continue reading

Jeff Sachs lobbies for the Bank presidency

Global unemployment being at 200 million according to the ILO, there a lot of people writing cover letters and polishing up their CVs. Jeff Sachs, celebrity economist and aid proponent, has joined the group of job seekers, though in a tougher political environment than most. He probably didn’t help his cause by almost contradicting himself within a week, and his CV might need a lot of polishing.

Sach’s cover letter for the job appeared in the Washington Post this morning. As any good cover letter, it sings the praise of the candidate:

My track record is to side with the poor and hungry, not with a corporate balance sheet or a government. Yet the solutions work for all — the poor, companies, governments and the rest of us — by creating a more prosperous, healthy and secure world. … Continue reading

Campaigners launch action against Larry Summers nomination

A campaign group in the US has launched an online petition demanding that President Obama NOT nominate Larry Summers. The campaign group is called UltraViolet and it “fight[s] to expand women’s rights and combat sexism everywhere – from politics and government to media and pop culture.” Here is what their action says: Continue reading

What are the odds? And where are the Chinese?

We’ve been waiting with bated breath for the odds makers to get active. After all, free-market thinkers tell us that the market always has the best outcomes and sets the right prices. So surely speculation on this blog, and elsewhere in the media, will be wrong and the market will be right. Finally, yesterday, Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker (betting site), answered the call. Of course they weren’t the only ones; John Cassidy of the New Yorker made up his own odds last weekend. But Paddy Power, with odds set by the frequency of bets, should give us the pulse of the market. Will they be right?

A review of the odds as of 21 Feb:

Larry Summers  4/11
Susan Rice  9/2
Hillary Clinton  9/2
Kemal Dervis  9/1
Tim Geithner  9/1
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala  20/1
Trevor Manuel  20/1
Lula da Silva  20/1
Continue reading