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Blog // Thoughts
May 1, 2007

Lessons In Being Morally Duplicitous

Here’s the latest, somewhat bizarre, twist in the Wolfowitz versus the World Bank fiasco. “World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz attempted to fight his way out of trouble last night ‚Äì but hinted that he may be prepared to resign if the charges against him of breaking the bank’s rules were dropped.” So – drop the […]

Here’s the latest, somewhat bizarre, twist in the Wolfowitz versus the World Bank fiasco.

“World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz attempted to fight his way out of trouble last night ‚Äì but hinted that he may be prepared to resign if the charges against him of breaking the bank’s rules were dropped.”

So – drop the charge that I’ve failed to do my job responsibly and I’ll accept I’ve failed to do it responsibly and leave? What a novel and interesting kind of parachute!

Of course, the current scandal, concerning the favourable financial treatment of Wolfowitz’s girlfriend, is perhaps not the most important failing to come to light. Despite some encouraging signs, with regard to Wolfowitz’s understanding of developmental issues and good goverance, the current head of the world bank has failed both to implement a consistent programme for dealing with corruption of aid and failed to fill key roles in the organisation with the best talent available.

Instead there has been cronyism, selective treatment of corrupt governments and a worrying tendency to use the World Bank as a foreign policy arm of the Bush Administration (though far less than many, inlcuding myself, had anticipated).

Whilst Wolfowitz has been far less of a polarising figure than, say, John Bolton was in the UN, his time in charge of the World Bank has become synonimous with missed opportunity. Some within the US are fond of claiming that these institutions would not exist without US backing, but the simple fact is they will have no mandate or effectiveness if they become nothing but a vehicle for US foreign policy.

The appointment of Wolfowitz to the World Bank was an example of the politics of cyncism and despite some of his better efforts in the role, it is in the best interests of the aims of the bank and the cause of development worldwide that he be forced to resign and not be given the option to step down in a fabricated move to preserve his “reputation.”

[tags] World Bank, Development [/tags]

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