June 25, 2004

AS MCNAMARA, SO THE LEFT:

Martin Wolf Vs. the World Bank: Critics of globalization would never believe that they have anything in common with the Financial Times' Martin Wolf. And yet, Mr. Wolf's criticism of the World Bank is probably as harsh as anybody's. In his new book "Why Globalization Works," he offers his views on the disastrous failures of the World Bank — and the institution's uncertain future. (Martin Wolf | Friday, June 25, 2004, The Globalist)

By the late 1970s, I had concluded that — for all the good intentions and abilities of its staff — the World Bank was a fatally flawed institution.

The most important source of its failures was its commitment to lending — almost regardless of what was happening in the country it was lending to.

Bank lending made it easier for corrupt and occasionally vicious governments to ignore the interests and wishes of their peoples.

This was an inevitable flaw, since the institution could hardly admit that what it could offer — money — would often make little difference. But this flaw was magnified by the personality of Robert McNamara, former U.S. Defense Secretary, who was the World Bank's dominating president from 1967 to 1981.

McNamara was a man of ferocious will, personal commitment to alleviating poverty — and frighteningly little common sense.


That could pretty much be modern liberalism's epitaph: "ferocious will, personal commitment, and frighteningly little common sense."

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 25, 2004 2:46 PM
Comments

"This was an inevitable flaw"

I do not think so, I think it was and is a feature.

Posted by: Uncle Bill at June 26, 2004 10:23 AM

Robert McNamara's ferocious will and personal commitment extended only to a sense of his own righteousness. Once that was broken (sometime in mid-to-late 1967), he went insane. For all the talk about LBJ's "toughness", why he didn't fire McNamara in 1965 or 1966 is a great mystery, and a great example of how supposedly strong men turn to jelly when they get the big chair.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 26, 2004 10:27 AM
« WHY NOT JUST ABORT THE ONES WITHOUT THE MUTATION? | Main | PERMISSION FROM THE FRENCH? »