There's just two problems with that viewpoint.
1. Most of the global poverty reduction we've seen has come from the simple adoption of capitalism (China and others), not World Bank projects or initiatives. And, in my view, the Bank is more anti-capitalism now that it has ever been.
2. The World Bank's "knowledge" has been consistently off base for at least the past 50 years. We've gone from the financing gap to education to institutions to you name it. Countries have spent real scarce resources following the advice and by and large it hasn't worked. Take the great universal primary enrollment goal (please). Whoever would have thought that governments would end up creating Potemkin schools where learning is often absent.
Phone call for Bill Easterly. Paging Lant Pritchett!
Even old, bad, discredited advice never seems to die out at the Bank as evidenced by this tweet:
#Pakistan needs to double private investment to reach #growth ambition of 7%, now investing only 15% of its GDP— Jan Walliser (@JanWalliser_WB) February 10, 2016
Note the date. 2016!! Not 1955. Apparently the Harrod-Domar model and the financing gap still live in the executive suites of the bank.
The tweeter is Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions at the Bank.
Now Clemens and Kremer are both way smarter and more successful than me. I had been thinking about a post like this but only decided to write it after seeing that incredible tweet this morning.
But Clemens and Kremer are committing the Mungowitz Unicorn fallacy.
They are conjuring up an idealized World Bank that has never existed and claiming we still need that unicorn Bank, rather than evaluating the desirability of the World Bank we actual have.
If we think about the actual World Bank, it's not so obvious that the cost-benefit calculation comes out positive.