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Hillary can be President after all!
February 15, 2012 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Who Will Run the Frog Hospital World Bank? Robert Zoellick has announced that he will step down from his role as World Bank President on June 30, at the end of his five-year term. Though the president has traditionally been selected by the President of the United States through an informal agreement with European powers, emerging powers including Brazil and India have argued for a change in policy.

The Bank's new Presidential selection process [pdf], adopted in 2011, state that "The Articles are silent on specific formal selection procedures for the President." Nonetheless, this is President Obama's first chance to nominate a World Bank President (Zoellick was a Bush appointee) and the temptation to exert this entrenched power may be difficult to resist.
posted by psoas (18 comments total)

 
Politico helpfully notes that the World Bank President, which is not a U.S. Government position, “does not require Senate confirmation.”
posted by psoas at 11:07 AM on February 15, 2012


Timothy Geithner.
posted by notyou at 11:27 AM on February 15, 2012


I was totally rooting for Lula, but I just found out he was diagnosed with throat cancer back in October.... I hope he gets better; he'd be great in one of these big international organization positions.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:29 AM on February 15, 2012


Elizabeth Stuart of Oxfam said: "The way the World Bank picks its president needs to change. The bank only operates in developing countries, so any candidate not supported by a majority of these countries would plainly lack legitimacy."

I don't care at all whether or not an American heads the World Bank, but I've always been a little confused by this argument (which I have seen before). I mean, imagine starting up a charity with your own funds for whatever noble purpose you can think of. I would have a hard time imagining that most people would argue that the recipients of the funds should then control their distribution (though obviously their voices should be listened to). And as I understand it, World Bank voting is allocated primarily by funding. This strikes me as...quite reasonable, actually.
posted by dsfan at 11:31 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't have a comment on the post's content, but I do want to commend Psoas on the Lorrie Moore reference.
posted by uberchet at 11:35 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I mean, imagine starting up a charity with your own funds for whatever noble purpose you can think of. I would have a hard time imagining that most people would argue that the recipients of the funds should then control their distribution (though obviously their voices should be listened to).

Except that the World Bank doesn't give money away. It brokers loans, often at incredibly unfavorable conditions which maintain a yoke of debt-slavery on those smaller countries that don't have the international economic clout to negotiate better terms. It's fairly understandable that they'd rather have someone on their side than a predatory lender from another country.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:44 AM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


After the US appointed Paul Wolfowitz, you can understand the reticence...
posted by Abinadab at 11:49 AM on February 15, 2012


"someone on their side" is the tricky part of this, FatherDagon.
posted by achpea at 11:50 AM on February 15, 2012


Oh please. These are bankers. It'll never be fair.
posted by dantsea at 11:50 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's fairly understandable that they'd rather have someone on their side

Well, yeah, I'm sure they'd rather that things were that way. But why would the U.S. and other lender countries -- who are funding the World Bank -- agree to that?

I'd be a lot happier if my neighbors were in charge of handing out refis down at the local bank; after all, they know me, like me, and I'm sure they'd give me a sweet deal. But I don't think that the bank is going to go for that. And at the end of the day since they're the ones with the money, they sort of make the call.

Similarly, unless there's a reason why it's in the best interests of the lender countries to relinquish control over the World Bank and its loans, I don't see it happening.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:06 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think MetaFilter should take over as President of the World Bank. Well, at least anybody who's chipped in the five bucks.
posted by facetious at 12:07 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


It would be interesting to see the locales where the World Bank is most active, and then compare against how active Brazil and India already are in those very same locales.

Imho, from this groundworm's PoV, the WB feeling increasingly obsolete, see Stiglitz.
posted by infini at 12:08 PM on February 15, 2012


mr_roboto: "I was totally rooting for Lula"

Why? Honest question, I really want to know. Why should Lula be president of the World Bank? What would he bring to the table?

I find it really rich that countries with basically most corrupt governmental institutions in the world (Brazil and India) are harrumphing about the selection process for the head of the World Bank as if they have a god-given right to that post. Libya's successful bid for membership in the UN Human Rights Council in 2010 comes to mind.

Ah, the rise of the "global south". How precious.
posted by falameufilho at 10:24 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Favouriting for sheer surrealism and future reference.
posted by infini at 6:21 AM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Brazil has overtaken the UK as the world's sixth largest economy, an economic research group has said.
posted by infini at 10:14 PM on February 18, 2012


Who Should Lead the World Bank?

The current selection procedure is losing legitimacy in a changing world, and it carries greater risks of a bad outcome: an unsuitable candidate. The consequences of retaining it might not be as dramatic as Keynes’ prophesied, but there is a real possibility that the Bank will ossify into an institution whose increasingly impoverished G-7 donors dispense progressively smaller sums of money in the same questionable ways to a shrinking number of supplicants.

posted by infini at 7:42 AM on February 19, 2012


A good post by Ben Ramalingan on this subject - in short: maybe we should care less about where the next president comes from and instead what they think or what their track record is in dealing with complex systems and problems.

(disclosure: I work at the World Bank)
posted by tkbarbarian at 12:53 PM on March 5, 2012


How I Would Not Lead the World Bank
Do NOT, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, pick me.

posted by infini at 11:14 PM on March 5, 2012


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