By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
Although many thought it was a cruel practical joke when Paul
Wolfowitz's name was first floated to head the World Bank, this was no April Fool's prank: Last Thursday, the executive directors of the World Bank approved the key architect of the Iraq war as president of what is supposed to be the world's largest development agency.
For decades, the World Bank has veered out of control with a
corporate-led development model. The Bank has pushed mega-development projects that have displaced millions of people, failed to improve national well-being and thrown countries into a downward debt spiral. Simultaneously, it has pushed market fundamentalist policies -- including blind support for privatization, deregulation, and marketization and commodification of social services and public goods -- that have benefited multinational corporations, but impoverished hundreds of millions.
Periodically, the Bank acknowledges its past failures -- devastatingly obvious upon objective review of its record -- and promises to start anew. With each renewal, however, the institution manages to repeat the mistakes of the previous era, yet again.
If the Bank is going to continue to exist, it does need a new start, but not the kind that Paul Wolfowitz's nomination portends.
Wolfowitz assumes the presidency of the Bank thanks to colonialist
tradition and craven geopolitical calculation. (more...)