The World’s Banker

Then Suharto looked at [James] Wolfensohn. "You know, what you regard as corruption in your part of the world, we regard as family values."

That is from Sebastian Mallaby’s The World”s Banker: A Story of Failed States, Financial Crises, and the Wealth and Poverty of Nations.  This study of Wolfensohn is not only the best book on the World Bank, but it is one of the best books on both leadership and the economics and politics of bureaucracy.  It is also the most biting critique of NGOs I have read, and oddly, the most convincing extant defense of the Bank.  Here is Dan Drezner on the book.

I’ve also been reading Orhan Pamuk’s Snow, a fictional tale of Turkish secularization and religious opposition.  I’ll cite Pamuk, Jose Saramago, and W.G. Sebald as the Continental writers of the last thirty years who will still be read fifty years from now.


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