Eschaton Is Shrill
Hoisted From the Archives: Role Models in Political Maturity

Kenneth Rogoff: Time for Change at the World Bank

Mark Thoma makes the catch:

Economist's View: Kenneth Rogoff: Time for Change at the World Bank: Kenneth Rogoff wants changes in the selection process for the leadership at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund:

Will World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz's troubles finally catalyse real change at the World Bank? Will there finally be an end to the archaic practice by which the president of the United States unilaterally appoints the head of the world's most important development agency? Facing an extraordinary rebuke from the Bank's ministerial oversight committee and open revolt from his professional staff, Wolfowitz has faint hope of limping through the last three years of his term. ... At a time when the Bank has been emphasising high governance standards as the key to development, the recent revelation[s] ... have dealt a serious blow to the Bank's credibility.

But even if Wolfowitz is eventually forced to resign, nothing will be gained if the US president George Bush is allowed summarily to choose his replacement, as US presidents have been doing ever since the Bank was founded after the second world war.... Indeed, a big part of Wolfowitz's weakness today is the way he came to his job, as an in-your-face appointment from a US administration weak at international cooperation. The World Bank is a development finance institution. But Wolfowitz's background ... gave him no real expertise or experience.... [I]t seems inconceivable that an open, transparent, and multilateral selection process would have chosen him to head the World Bank....

I am sympathetic to... change at the Bank.... But choosing someone with no obvious background or experience in economic development was not the way to make progress...