Shut ‘er Down!

Back when I worked in a factory as a welder, that phrase was music to my ears. At the very least, an extended smoke break was in the offing while the foreman argued with the inspector. But here I offer it as a suggestion for what to do with the World Bank. I know it is unlikely; large bureaucracies do not easily go away. The Bank for International Settlements was set up to handle war reparations and still lives on and the IMF has survived the collapse of the system it was set up to monitor (Bretton Woods).

There are several reasons for considering shutting down the WB. Its history of policy advice has not always been the greatest, and its IADB arm that makes market rate loans is not really needed in this era of global financing. And, when it comes to dispensing aid, its a monopolistic bureaucracy that seems at times more concerned with quantity than quality (David Ellerman has a nice piece on the WB that discusses its quasi monopoly status under the heading Structural Problem #1).  I believe there are viable alternative modes of disbursing aid. Consider for example organizations like Global Giving which collects vetted projects on its website. There donors can search for and contribute to specific projects. Decentralized, streamlined and "ownership" of the project seems clearly delineated.

So lets "shut ‘er down" and move on. But if we can’t not replace Wolfowitz (son of Wolfenson), lets at least do the right thing and replace him with this proud son of Oklahoma.


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