Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Review of the World Bank

What the World Bank knows ...And what it only thinks it knows
January 11, 2007

The article discusses the changing role of the World Bank. Since many of its biggest customers no longer require aid or loans from the World Bank, the Bank is changing its emphasis and trying to become a ‘Knowledge Bank’ to whom countries can turn to for advice and ideas. However, this change is not progressing smoothly; the authors suggest that a large number of the 10,000 people employed by the Bank waste their time in the creation of work that is “wonkishly heroic” and “inconsequential.” Recently, the Bank invited top academics to inspect its “intellectual books.” The ‘inspectors’ in addition to finding wastage of resources, also found that the Bank took new and untested results as hard evidence that its preferred policies work.” One World Bank study which presented the ‘benefits’ of globalization was singled out for criticism by the academics because of the short-term and narrow-minded view that it espoused.

The academics made a number of suggestions to improve the Bank’s functioning such as focusing on more practical projects and encouraging employees to cry foul when their work was manipulated by superiors.

1. What additional policies should the World Bank adopt to maximize its impact on nations that require its help? Should it for example, have academics review its intellectual books on a regular basis?

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