Jim Kim’s ‘Experience And Humility’ Make Him A Good Nominee For World Bank President

In this Washington Post opinion piece, Paul Farmer, a Harvard professor and co-founder of Partners In Health, and John Gershman, a professor at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, discuss the nomination of Jim Yong Kim, a global health expert and Dartmouth College president, to be president of the World Bank. “Recent claims from some economists that Kim is ‘anti-growth’ are based on a willful misreading and selective reporting of passages from Kim’s co-edited volume ‘Dying for Growth: Global Inequality and the Health of the Poor,’ to which we both contributed,” they write, adding, “The book’s objective was to ask questions about what types of growth and what kinds of policies were beneficial for those struggling to lift themselves out of poverty.”

“Under-investment in basic services for the poor — including health care, education and access to credit — perpetuated their exclusion” from development programs in the 1990s, but “[q]uestions about inclusive growth remain important in the 21st-century debate over development policy,” Farmer and Gershman write. “That stance — of asking hard questions rather than assuming the answers — is a valuable one for whoever is at the helm of the World Bank or any development institution. We would argue that it is precisely this humility that has been missing for too long among those who claim to have a clear prescription for ending poverty,” they continue, adding, “Jim Yong Kim is a physician and leader who has dedicated his life to advancing development.” The authors conclude, “Lifting people out of poverty was and is precisely the mandate with which the World Bank was founded. Now, at last, we have a nominee with the experience and humility to move this agenda forward” (4/11).