‘Self-Determination’, ‘Meritocratic Process’ Should Drive Selection Of World Bank Leadership

The Atlantic: The U.S. Doesn’t Deserve the World Bank Presidency
Annie Lowrey, contributing editor at The Atlantic covering economic policy

“…[Trump’s nominee to lead the World Bank, David] Malpass, a former Wall Street economist, once criticized institutions such as the bank as ‘intrusive’ and argued that multilateralism ‘has gone substantially too far — to the point where it is hurting U.S. and global growth.’ As of yet, there is little appetite from foreign countries or the bank’s board to fight the nomination. But it is a missed opportunity for the institution and its client countries. And this whole sorry episode makes it even clearer that the United States should lose, or relinquish, its leadership of the bank. A gentleman’s agreement dating to just after World War II holds that the United States chooses the head of the World Bank, and chooses an American. … This arrangement made good sense at first: Back in the Cold War era, the United States wanted to help spur capitalist development in poor countries and provided the bulk of the bank’s financing to make that happen. But the gentleman’s agreement is no longer justifiable. Washington is a major funder of the bank, but not a dominant funder. … The United States is no longer the major donor to the bank, nor is the bank a more important priority for the United States than it is for the countries it offers loans and advice. American control over the bank is an unjustifiable tradition that harms the institution. Self-determination and a truly meritocratic process for choosing its leadership would be good for the bank, and for the world…” (2/12).

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