Traditionally, the US picks the head of the World Bank and the Europeans the head of the IMF. Obama’s pick tells us a lot about Obama, I think.
- His choice, Jim Yong Kim, has no banking or financial experience. I guess in Obama’s world, skills or experience are not mandatory.
- Kim has written that economic growth does not help the poor in the developing world – an odd belief for the head of an organization dedicated to global economic growth. But it’s in keeping with Obama’s anti-capitalist mindset.
- Finally, Kim is a doctor. The organization he founded advocates for… wait for it… socialized medicine.
Frankly, it’s the first point I find most disturbing. When I was doing my overseas work, I saw a lot of this attitude amongst the US government/aid types I encountered. Since they didn’t have to actually do anything (or at least were never checked up on to make sure they were accomplishing anything) ability was unimportant – aside from the ability to look good. That counted for a lot. And it seems a running theme in the Obama presidency.
Oh well. It’s just the World Bank. As a development institution, I don’t think it’s done much anyway.