Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday morning at the woodshed

Wow. Lant Pritchett absolutely eviscerates the Obama administration over their pick for World Bank President.

Here are some of the salty bits:

“It’s an embarrassment to the U.S. You cannot with a straight face say this person is the most qualified to lead the World Bank.”


Adds Pritchett, nominating Kim “is like picking the short stop for the New York Yankees out of the scrub leagues.”


“there’s no question that Kim has done terrific things, but I wouldn’t nominate Mother Teresa to head the World Bank if she were still alive.”

I personally think that the World Bank's composite scorecard is way over par (during its existence, on balance, it's done more harm than good) and favor abolition.

But I don't think the main problem has been choice of leadership.

As Mallaby's superb book "The World's Banker" makes clear, WB Presidents cannot make the behemoth bank bureaucracy march to their own tune.

The problem is institutional, the problem is conceptual, the problem is philosophical. The WB is one of the last bastions of central planning, and it functions about as well as other such bastions have functioned.

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