Ivanka might be an improvement

Yes, yes, I know she is only running the interviewing process, but that is how Dick Cheney ended up as vice President.  Here is one excerpt from my Bloomberg column:

You might argue that Ivanka is not qualified to run the World Bank, and I might agree with you. (She would not be my personal pick; how about Carly Fiorina, Kristin J. Forbes or Arthur Brooks?) Yet consider that the previous president, Jim Yong Kim, was highly qualified on paper. He co-founded a famous foreign-aid public health group, has a Ph.D. in anthropology, was a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health and then president of Dartmouth. As an Asian-American, he had the potential to be a powerful symbol of multicultural governance.

Yet by most accounts his tenure at the bank was a failure. He alienated much of the staff, and his organizational changes (after first creating chaos and bad morale) were largely reversed.

Now he is leaving suddenly, years before his term is up, allowing Trump to appoint his replacement. Not only that, Kim is moving to a for-profit infrastructure firm, hardly the best symbolism for the leader of an institution that is supposed to be about helping the global poor.

The sad reality is this: If Ivanka took over the reins of the bank, she probably would be an improvement.

And she might not even use the word “and” so much.


But this would also be another nail for the normalization of cronyism and nepotism. I think I would rather see another sub-optimal World Bank president than see the US continue to take steps toward the governance norms of Third World countries.

In the sense that this is "nepotism" etymologically, I can agree. But it's hard to look at Kim's appointment as anything but nepotism when you look over his poor leadership track record, and then come to the natural conclusion that he got the job based off of social connections amongst 1990s Harvard faculty and alumni.

In a long-term, institutional-norms sense I think there's an important difference between hiring your Harvard chum and hiring your daughter (not that either is ideal).

The world bank is corrupt and dysfunctional so it seems logical that any actual effort to clean it up would result in "alienated much of the staff, and his organizational changes (after first creating chaos and bad morale) were largely reversed."

Get the U.S. out of the world bank and get the world bank out of the U.S.

Who's Ivanka?

Ivanka Trump looks good, like her model mother. Another good looking girl is that new congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They both have the look and feel of models. Probably why they are in the spotlight. Nothing wrong with that, as Silvio Berlusconi can attest to. In fact, you could argue America needs to loosen up, and install a 'less serious' person (analogous to Trump) in positions of power. Obama may have broken that barrier, and now it's time, like in Italy, to put exotic dancers in Congress, or Ivanka in the World Bank, and so on.

Ivanka's a bit hotter than AOC, with twice the IQ.

Ivanka's father says she's a great piece of ass, so who are we to disagree?

I think she was a beautiful loli when she was 10 or so. Since then, she's lost most of her sex appeal, but that always happens when they grow up.

Needless to say, she should be nowhere near the world bank, just like her father should be nowhere near the White House. I guess he's not murdering journalists, so the US still hits the "Saudia Arabia bar", if that's any consolation.

Not so sure about the IQ claim. Ivanka was literally an affirmative action student at Wharton (daddy's legacy). Before that, she was at Georgetown which in the eyes of Manhattan elite high society the Trumps are from means that she (and her brother) punched way below her belt for not even going Ivy. AOC for all her faults came from an infinitely more humble background with no connections and still managed to graduate cum laude in economics with all kinds of extra curricular like work with Ted Kennedy. Ivanka is eight years older and despite being the daughter of a billionaire and something of a celebrity outright hasn't nearly accomplished as much. With that said, Ivanka being in the White House gives her more elite access than AOC but not thru her own efforts. Oh well, at the end of the day, both are female millenial liberal Democrats from New York with decidedly left-flavored politics.

Not much of what you write is true. Ivanka graduated cum laude from Whorton, and has her own, successful, clothing line. OAC grew up in one of the richest zip codes in the US.

"...cum laude from Whorton..."

I laughed so hard. You cannot make this stuff up.

Correct. Not made up, unlike AOC's 'girl from the Bronx' BS

Way over your head I guess

AOC has accomplished much more? She got a degree like millions of other people, and then worked as a bartender. She managed to get elected to congress by winning the nomination in a district with an arrogant incumbent who didn't even bother to campaign, and because the district is overwhelmingly Democratic she won election without having to do any heavy lifting at all.

Since being elected she has given interviews that make her look foolish and make her school's economics department look bad for having graduated someone who apparently doesn't know much about economics.

As an aside, did she get a real economics degree? Or was it something like 'economics education' or 'economics studies'? Because I would have expected a person with a degree in economics to understand things like the basics of how unemployment rates are determined. Or is this just an example of the watering down of economics at Boston U?

I think Tyler is kidding here, in a "ha ha, nothing matters anymore" way.

And that's kind of sad, because we shouldn't really be there. This comes on the same day as stories of self-dealing with the Trump inauguration. How long would it be before bank president Ivanka found a way to swing development funds for Mar-a-Lago? I'd give it five weeks.

If he was kidding, he'd be talking about the grievous effects of the federal government partial shutdown, and how Trump had to buy fast food for a football team to enjoy in the White House.

(Still sounds like some crazy 70s scenario - a broke American government where a billionaire president goes out of pocket to pay for fast food for a football team - though in that time frame, the guilty party for that state of affairs would have been OPEC, not drug catapulting caravans of children, or whatever crisis is actually occurring on the borders.)

I think this was the best joke on that.

Our president in that video: "We have french fries....many many french fries"

Dear God it's beyond parody.

Not nearly as beyond-parody as the WaPo attempting to rip Trump for exaggerating the number of burgers present.

Dear God, it was only 300! Why all the lies???

We are truly in the middle of the clowniest period in presidential history. Not just Le Grande Orange but the hyperventilating reactions to him.

I prefer The Orange Overlord, but otherwise we are in agreement.

ARRRRRGH! — YOU CURSED BILLIONAIRE! LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE! I'm MELTING! Melting! Oh — what a world, what a world! Who would have thought a petulant child like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?! ARRRRRGH! I'm gone! I'm gone! I'm going!..

I think it was the "hamberders" tweet that should really concern us. I mean I'm not the greatest speller, but if I were tweeting in any serious capacity I'd get a workflow with proofreaders in place.

Dude has neither skill nor rigor.

How much covfefe was provided?

You are not the greatest speller, you aren't the greatest anything - just a lefty loser wasting all his time on a blog.

Dig this - you LOST the election. You LOST SCOTUS.

Better pray for RBG.

Trump lied to me - he said I would get sick of winning.

Nice work, kid. Check with the rep I think you get a bonus.

The fast food was a great idea. Something they would enjoy and did.

Of course it was.

But can an idea truly be great if it was Trump's idea? This is a question that Tyler Cowen, the Washington Post, and the NY Times grapple with every day.

Ha - I'm kidding. They don't grapple at all. The answer is no.

Name one good thing Barack Obama did as president. Just one.

He did get NASA to focus more on sending remote probes into space rather than humans. Smart move. But that's all I got.

My two snark answers were going to be 1. "Talk about setting the bar low" and 2. " I can't think of one either"

Oh yeah... "The bigotry of low expectations"

The biggest achievement of Obama is preventing Hillary Clinton from winning the nomination. Beyond that, he handled the recovery reasonably well, he pushed Obamacare through and he was a steady, well liked head of state.

Sure, this is basically the story it just amuses me watching hyperpartisans lose their credibility. They whine when no one gives Trump credit for anything, but of course they can't do the same for the 'other team'.

I give O credit for attacking Libya and Syria and refraining from withdrawing from Afghanistan and Iraq. I'm sure American citizens can come up with a longer list of achievements.

Why were people surprised that Kim was a failure as World Bank president due to alienating staff and decreasing overall morale? He did the same thing during his short 3 year tenure at Dartmouth, it was insane for Obama to nominate for World Bank president a man who couldn't run the smallest of the Ivy League colleges for even a few years and who articles in Forbes warned was a narcissist.

That's interesting. I did not follow this guy like you have, but my 5 second impression was that Kim was getting pushback from overstaffed, overpaid World Bank bureaucracy and he was trying to drain the swamp. That was the soundbite I think Kim's people were trying to impress on the public.

That's what happened to Larry Summers too. The press reported it as political correctness gone mad, but he was messing with the self-serving system of faculty research budgets (too complicated to explain here) so he got no support from the faculty when he said something that happened to be correct but that offended some women.

Kim was catastrophic for Dartmouth in his too-long tenure there. They seem hell-bent on immolating what made that place unique.

To me, alienating a stuffy, hidebound bureacracy like the World Bank is a win-win. Creative destruction at its best. With this, Kim should be thanked and Ivanka should be welcomed.

I'm more interested in why the World Bank has an apparent tendency of chewing up and spitting out highly qualified leaders with good ideas. Seems to be an uncommonly high degree of institutional inertia.

Yeah. I'm shocked that an institution with attenuated, practically non-existent ownership that will never be allowed to fail has dysfunction and inertia. I mean, who saw that coming?

"Ending Poverty"

I agree.

In fin, Ivanka likely (we will never know) would not be worse than the next-in-line, credentialed imbecile they drop in. Maybe Ben Bernanke is available.

Dr. Bernanke is not an imbecile and performed adequately.

In theory, central planners have good intentions. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Still, better than bad intentions

"Still, better than bad intentions"

It's rare for someone powerful to think they are the Bad guy. Hitler thought he was saving Germany from the Western Allies, Communism and the Jews.

Hitler took Germany to Hell with good intentions.

Maybe Ivanka could be pope instead, because the other guy ever so coincidentally 'helping' the process for John Paul II's successor just happened to be the man that became the next pope.

First Jewish Pope. Possibly first female Pope. Great idea! Diversity!

Wasn't the first Jewish pope Jesus?

No, Peter was both the first Pope and the first Jewish pope..

I was under the idea that the catholic church considers all historic Jews that heard and accepted Jesus's message to be Christians, meaning the only truly jewish-christian was Jesus himself, even though that's ludicrous because as the son-of-god he IS religion made flesh.

There's no evidence that Peter ever went to Rome and ample evidence that he wasn't the first Pope.

def not the first female pope.

In the military there's an old line about leadership and morale that goes you can train the guts but not the guns. There are two types of "highly qualified people". High qualification people. High qualifying people. All the diplomas in the world don't matter if you can't establish and maintain the morale of an organization. You'll never be able to throw enough money at it either. Maybe Ivanka would be a good choice. History is replete with examples of unqualified people having wild success.

"History is replete with examples of unqualified people having wild success."

That was a somewhat popular theory in November of 2016. I, for one, don't think it aged well.

That's funny in another way. It was a right wing fantasy that all of Obama's history was nothing, and therefor he was "unqualified." But of course that was only the in-group idea about someone in the out-group.

Most normal people were actually impressed by this:

"In 1988, Obama enrolled at Harvard Law School, where he excelled as a student, graduating magna cum laude and winning election as president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review for the academic year 1990-1991. "

But you know, "conservatives" promptly invented the idea that it was all given for race and not merit.

Ivanka graduated cum laude from Penn with an Econ degree.

She is also currently under investigation that would normally preclude such an appointment.

Judge permits AG lawsuit against Trump Foundation to proceed

Has it really come to this, Brian? Are you in the corner for "your crooks?"

I voted for Hillary. She's "my crook" if anyone is. When Bill put her in charge of Healthcare, I didn't lose my shit.

There might be some equivalence there if the Clintons were also ordered to dissolve their charity under court supervision.

It really was projection all along. Having a crooked charity, Trump assumed everyone else was as corrupt.

How does it feel to be a supporter of a child trafficking mastermind?

Hey now, I was the mastermind.

When I get out I'm coming for you guys. Just gotta find the right pizza place.

You stupid redneck. I did all my child trafficking and exploitation on a luxury private airplane. Not some fast food joint catering to cretins. Neither Bill nor Hillary would step foot in a place like that outside of a campaign photo op. How could you possibly believe such a dumb rumor?

On a different track but still related, is the general discussion people have (like we are having) about qualifications for politicians in the first place. This conversation started about Ivanka and the World Bank, for which I would say that having some "qualifications" in economics or finance would be useful, although my whole point as related to morale was that if morale was the issue then having someone "unqualified" or under-qualified might actually not be damaging to the organization.

When it comes to politicians - anyone elected to office - as a believer in democratic selection I'm required to believe that the only qualification a politician really needs to have to hold the job is that the majority that elected them consider them qualified. The election itself is the qualification as well as the mandate.

By that definition, all politicians that hold office are qualified. They received their qualifications on election. That means that fundamentally - regardless of any back-and-forth about other qualifications - Obama was qualified to be President. So is Trump. Ivanka - being an appointee - has a different criteria.

Obama was qualified to be President. There. I said it.

An interesting point is that Kim was the first World Bank president to to have a background in economics, law, or finance; Ivanka does have this background. So from a precedential standpoint, she's more "traditionally qualified" than Kim. But obviously that's what Obama wanted to move away from in nominating Kim, choosing someone in more of a health-development background than in finance.

To clarify, that should be "to NOT have a background in economics, law, or finance"

The guy supposedly defending Obama's qualifications can't point to anything after law school? Is this parody?

Oh yeah Tom, I was totally exhausted after that copy-paste. It is my life's work. And Obama's life work! 34 words.

I'm guessing you talked him up to people as "clean and articulate."

Obama was eminently qualified to be a TV evening news anchor on a station in a mid-market city like Memphis or Wichita. Those very qualities are what made him palatable to enough voters to snag the position of the most powerful elected official on earth. By himself, this would not have been enough. It also required the machinations of David Axelrod, someone that knew plenty about how elections work to win one but wasn't personally attractive enough to do it himself. In fact, his success in selling Obama got him a great contract to do the same with Corbyn and British Labor. Didn't work out that time.

The odd part is that Obama, son of a white mother and African father and educated in exclusive schools, doesn't fit the normal description of an African-American as it's generally understood. He's not descended from slaves. His only connection with the American black experience was a negligible percentage of melanin. It's a shame that he was so enthusiastically embraced by real African-Americans. There were others, Rodney Slater for instance, that would have more authentically represented them.

You have a virulent case of ODS

Yeah, he had a little tint in his skin, but the left judges people by the color of their skin, not the content of their character.

Don't we have a holiday coming up?

Wrong. Harvard judged Asian Americans by the content of their character and found they had less character ("lacking courage and influence") than blacks and Hispanics. See that's not racist at all.

Harvard is getting sued. I hope the plaintiffs prevail.

Anonamouse said:

"Most normal people were actually impressed by this:

'In 1988, Obama enrolled at Harvard Law School, where he excelled as a student, graduating magna cum laude and winning election as president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review for the academic year 1990-1991.'

But you know, "conservatives" ...'

That's pure bullpucky mouse! Obama was an average student at best, even at the community college. He didn't do anything at Harvard other than look cool. His academic records are sealed. Why? What is he hiding? Failure? Mediocrity?

That quote about "magna cum laud' is fake news.

But you are not a fake mouse. You are the real deal!

Record-low African-American unemployment is not a "success," according to anonymous. In other words, we're dealing with a racist here.

The anonamouse wants to keep blacks on the Democrat's plantation - unemployed and on public assistance.

He's so one of those California virtue signallers that makes life miserable for the working class to o make himself feel good.

He'll pay the carbon tax - an indulgence for the elite.


The WB always struck me as an organization that was run primarily for the benefit of its employees and anything else was secondary. Anyone who has ever worked with or for the WB knws this is the case. These international organizations are way worse than the US government because they are responsive to no one -- employment is typically a boondoggle with tax exempt salaries and no real responsibilities.

Exactly. It's a pure rent-seeking entity. Why isn't the first reaction of a free-market economist to say shut the damn thing down?

I can't imagine the outrage this article is going to generate among Tyler's colleagues at GMU. Kudos Tyler! Well done.

Maybe, just maybe, there is a Vice President or other lower level official at the World Bank who has institutional knowledge and people skills to do a decent job. But then the US president would be deprived of the traditional perk of giving away this plum, eh?

Is a doctorate in Anthro really considered a credential more than a crutch [in global finance]? I'm imagining myself reading that resume before the interview and trying not to laugh.

When it is (supposedly) a matter of helping the poor instead of fleecing them, yes, it is.

Economic Anthropology is Marxist hackery which in no way prepares one for the task of trying to understand economic development.

OT (sorry):


according to the Swiss NZZ Nassim Taleb recently started a Twitter thread against the concept of IQ in general, in which he attacks Pinker, Peterson, Harris, and Murray. According to NZZ Taleb wins.

Have you seen it?

I have un-followed Taleb for a while on twitter, that thread is a big snooze, if anything, due to retweets, it is showing how thin skinned Taleb is, as there is a bunch of people responding, "I can't see the tweet, Taleb has blocked me" (and I am not interested enough to log out to see the tweet).

In a sense, Taleb and liberals don't tolerate dissent, although that is the only thing he has in common with liberals.

I am still trying to figure out what skill Carly Fiorina has demonstrated that would suggest she's right to run the WorldBank.

She fired tens of thousands of people to make the stock price move up a buck. This is a very richly rewarded skill in modern America. Don't drive a bus, teach schoolchildren, rake the leaves, no. Destroy jobs.

Carly Fiorina?

'Cause she's beaten the Statute of Limitations for the control fraud she committed @ Lucent?


Ivanka works fine. It is not really a bank, it is a politically correct foreign id program. She would fit right in given her two years in the Swamp. Even if it were a bank, how many bankers really know banking theory?

More casual misogyny from MR. Don't worry; we're used to it.

When you said "might be an improvement" I assumed you were making a typically snarky remark about that she'd be a better President than Trump. That might be true, and you might find out in 2024.

How is a Ph.D. in anthropology not an immediate disqualification from any important job?


$20 bet (paid to the charity of choice) says that doesn't happen.

What doesn't happen, harm to the US economy, or harm all the way down to 0.0%?

"reduce economic growth to zero."

It's something you wrote. How could you fail to understand that?

But to be super clear :

I'll bet you $20 that the First quarter US GDP numbers for 2019 are greater than Zero as determined by the BEA's estimate on or after 10/1/2019, but no later than 12/31/2019.

Either you think I'm dumb, or you are.

The point is self-harm, which starts at any negative inflation of GDP growth. Jamie's 0.0% is just a particularly stark benchmark.

Why would I want to "lose" a bet at 0.1% or even 0.9%? Those would both be very negative turns to the business cycle.



Fine, I'll raise it to 1% GDP growth.

To be super clear :

I'll bet you $20 that the First quarter US GDP numbers for 2019 are greater than 1.0% as determined by the BEA's estimate on or after 10/1/2019, but no later than 12/31/2019.

You are starting to get my logic, but let me ask you this: would that 1% growth be a win from a policy perspective?

I think the last 4 quarters have all been above 2%, and as high as 4%

Would that 1% growth now be a win for Trump, Trump fans, or the nation as a whole?

Because if not, you are asking me to bet on shades of failure!

Yeah, I figured you wouldn't.

A Bet is a Tax on Bullshit - Alex Tabarrok


I wager he's not the only one here who thinks you're pretty dumb.

We only lost 3% of growth, yay team?

If only we could raise your IQ by 3%.

I meant to say inflection of growth.

I have heard things are like that innAngola, too. One must partner with the president's daughter to be able to do business innthe country. I can not imagine how it must be live innsuch a country. President Captain Bolsonaro's personally headhunted the best executives to staff Brazil's state banks.

Ivanka lied about material facts to investors in Trump projects around the world, which is (I believe) a crime and makes it difficult to see how she would be trusted to run a large organization.

Well then why not pay for the wall? Because you'd rather look good then do your job? What is the serious objection to a border? "It might not work that well so I'm flushing billions of dollars down a toilet instead"

We are deep into political game theory. I'd guess that both Trump and the Democrats are thinking about how this positions them for Mueller's report. Trump happy that he is contolling the narrative, Dems are happy that he is burning approval points to do it.

For that reason neither side wants this to be over and off the front page.

"per Gallup, Trump is the only POTUS in history of polling never to reach 50% approval in first 2 years

also the only POTUS whose average approval for first 2 years (39%) was below 40%

averages for predecessors: Obama 52%, GWB 70%, Clinton 48%, GHWB 70%, Reagan 50%, Carter 54%"


Please stop commenting.

Who cares? Its just a welfare agency.

189 members, 173 get projects!

Including such Third World states like Denmark and France and oil rich Norway

Let's stop the US contribution and let some other country fill the patronage job.

Cowen's comment is on the absurdity of the WB. In this flat world, capital will seek the highest rate of return, like water seeking its own level, which my mean the lowest cost of labor. Whats the point of places with high labor costs subsidizing places with low labor costs. Capital will find the places with the lowest labor costs, it doesn't need the WB to find it.

Is this a religion for you or what.

If capital goes to the place with the lowest labor cost, then why isn't everybody pumping money into Africa?
Labor, and human life, is very cheap there.

Jim Yong Kim

All the boxes were checked:

PhD - check
NGO - check
Ivy League pedigree - check

All that and he still sucked, and yet the elites complain about the public's loss of faith in "experts".

We fired (some of) the "experts" in 2016, and we ain't done yet.


He had the wrong PhD type. Would you give the reins of CERN to someone with a PhD in English Literature? No. So why did they think giving the reins of the World Bank to someone with a PhD in Anthropology would work?

His failure at the World Bank shows the failure of not having enough expertise, which is quite the opposite of the failure of experts.

Ivanka might be an improvement.... When TC really needs to signal he's a contrarian. His writings would be very good without these contrarian opinion signaling.

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