The IMF, World Bank and the WTO
5. The World Bank Robert J. Riley INTRODUCTION Much like the IMF, the World Bank has come under close scrutiny over the past several decades, though more intensely so in the 1990s. Again, the criticisms come from across the political spectrum; from within academia, and from outside it. They are directed at both the scope and the particular policies of the Bank’s mission: critics sometimes argue that the Bank does too much, while others claim that it does not do enough. Many believe that it focuses too heavily on market solutions, and others that it fails adequately to account for them. Jessica Einhorn (2001, p. 1), a former managing director at the Bank, writes that: By now, its mission has become so complex as to strain incredulity to portray the Bank as a manageable organisation. The Bank takes on challenges that lie far beyond any institution’s operational capabilities. The calls for greater focus through reform seem to produce little beyond conferences and consternation, since every programme has a dedicated constituency resisting change … whatever the remedy, it is time to redefine the bank’s unwieldy mission. She notes that the Bank has been called on to do much more than its original mission. It has been encouraged to promote development by considering and supporting market-friendly policies, and promoting a long list of ‘economic goods’, including stable economic environments, greater investment in human capital, stronger property rights, better-developed legal systems, promotion of sound and transparent financial markets, and paying greater attention to corporate...
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