World Bank Controversy

Political polarization is not good, but its silver lining is that 2012 will offer a clear cut choice between accepting either a liberal approach or a conservative approach to resolving tough U.S. economic troubles.

They are diametrically opposite approaches. They are largely incompatible. We must pick one over the other. The future of the nation depends on it.

President Obama’s nominee for head of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, is an example just how deeply seated those economic philosophical differences are. If chosen, Kim will bring a strongly liberal approach to economics that closely mimics Obama’s own world view.

Jim Yong Kim

Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim

Though some right-wingers might think so, President Obama did NOT nominate a North Korean Communist Party chief to head the World Bank.
(“That’s a joke, I say, that’s a joke, son.”Foghorn Leghorn)

Kim is a classic American success story. He is living the American Dream.

Born in South Korea, Kim moved with his parents to the United States at age 5. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

In high school he played football and basketball and was valedictorian of his graduating class.

He attended the University of Iowa and Brown University where he graduated magna cum laude. Kim earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and Ph.D. in Anthropology at Harvard.

Kim was so devoted to community-focused health care that he co-founded Partners in Health in 1987 to promote it. He was executive director of the 13,000 employee organization in 2003 when he left to be an adviser to the World Health Organization.

He has held several positions at Harvard in teaching and promoting global health for some 20 years. He is currently president of Dartmouth University.

The World Bank Controversy

Yesterday, the Huffington Post reported that Kim’s nomination to the World Bank has generated a big flap because of a book he wrote in 2000 titled “Dying for Growth“. In that book he claims that emphasis by western global corporations on stimulating economic growth at any cost has increased poverty throughout the world.

The studies in this book present evidence that the quest for growth in GDP and corporate profits has in fact worsened the lives of millions of women and men
– Jim Yong Kim, Dying for Growth, 2000

To say the least, that is a pretty strange position to take for someone nominated to run the World Bank. Its no wonder Kim’s nomination is raising eyebrows.

Obama’s Liberal Approach to Economics

Even more stunning is that nobody, least of all President Obama, seems the least bit concerned that Kim has no banking experience whatsoever. None. Zero. Zipo. Nada!

Obama’s choice to head the World Bank has these qualifications:

  • A 20-year academic career out of the Ivy League
  • Promotes community-based health care around the globe
  • President of Dartmouth University
  • Blames pushing GDP growth and big global corporations for poverty

Nowhere in that background is there a shred of evidence that he is qualified to be the 3rd world’s banker.

You’d think the World Bank would want someone with banking experience who isn’t anti-business and anti-growth. But that is not who Obama picked.

Most interesting is that Kim follows the Obama formula for nominees and appointments. They come primarily from academic backgrounds, often Harvard, and more often than not have frighteningly little practical experience for the positions they are picked. They universally share Obama’s utopic world views.

As accomplished as he is in academia, no fiscal conservative in a million years would have ever nominated Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank.

Liberal Economics

Some common themes found in liberal economic thinking:

  • No economic growth without taxpayer supported big government solutions
  • More government regulations are a panacea for problems
  • Corporations are 100% profit-oriented, anti-worker and regularly ripoff consumers
  • Private corporations and Wall Street are the cause of, not the solution for, economic turmoil

That is the type of liberal thinking that leads President Obama to nominate an academic holding an anti-business, anti-growth world view to head the World Bank.

Its scary to think we might just pull an academic out of his Ivy League office, shove him into an important job for which he has few qualifications or experience and expect him to help the 3rd world weather global recession or worse… and that person blames GDP growth for world poverty, ta boot!


Whatever happened to the work ethic, paying your bills, self-reliance, and everyone pulling their own weight together to confront and overcome seeming insurmountable obstacles? Why is big government the solution to everything? Why is someone else – corporations, Wall Street, the Chinese and/or the rich – and not ourselves to blame for all our problems? Why have so many of us absolved ourselves from responsibility?

If you ask these kinds of questions frequently then you have a fiscal conservative point of view. You’ll probably want to vote Republican this year.

If you share the view that government exists to solve all problems; if you believe that wealth redistribution from “them” to you is A-OK; if you believe government exists to provide you benefits and freebies because, as an American, it is your birthright; if you believe that corporations and the rich just rip everyone off; if you believe that an idealized vision of the world is all you need to solve real problems… then you’ll probably vote Democratic this year.

The two choices are crystal clear!


About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Mar 27, 2012, in 2012 Elections, economics, Global Economy, Jim Yong Kim, news, Opinion, Politics, World Bank. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Jim Yong Kim would get along famously with Hugo Chavez. Chavez doesn’t like GDP growth either.

  2. Nothing wrong with not favouring growth–UNDP goes for human development which isn’t growth based and should be the development paradigm.

    What’s wrong is a medical doctor with no financial experience controlling the Bank which needs funding for IDA

    • You are correct, the mission of the World Bank is different from most other banks. It’s the 3rd world’s banker. Its motto is “Working for a World Free of Poverty”. Pure profit is not the WB’s primary motivation, ending poverty is.

      At surface glance they should be a good match. However…

      The WB has 5 agencies. One of them, besides the IDA, is for settlement of investment disputes(ICSID). Kim has already made clear where his bias in that area resides. The WB would likely always rule against the investors and thus scare off future investment. That would hurt the bank and its mission to end poverty by promoting economic development.

      But, primarily, it is a bank and, as you aptly pointed out, Kim has no financial experience. His lack of experience and expressed anti-corporate views would cloud his judgement.

      London’s Financial Times(FT) pointed out yesterday there is a much better candidate, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that should, but won’t, get the post.

      The FT columnist called on President Obama to release Europe from it’s block pledge to support the US nominee, so Europe can vote for who they want. That probably will not happen.

      It’ll be controversial, but Kim likely will be the WB’s next president.

      • It’s IDA–the Bank’s arm that depends on donor contributions that I’m worried about. Anthropologist or doctor, Kim should not push Health as his agenda–though he likely won’t. His agenda should include gaining funding for IDA which many donors are dropping their share of contributions. Alas, he may find it difficult to even under what IDA is.

  3. This man may be liberal, but he has a demonstrated capacity in a variety of leadership fields. Given the bankers all over Wall Street and in the administration and their terrible performance, this guy having a brain with med accomplishments may end up being a genius pick. That philosophy is so important and overwhelming today sucks. I wish for more real science based, or evidence based, folks but neither side picks those any longer. Actually, this guy may be the better pick. I heard where Obama was considering the disaster candidate Larry Summers, a guy who could not lead Harvard, who failed in advising Presidents etc. etc.

    • Political views or not, he has to quickly understand that the Bank is about gaining and disbursing money. Yes it’s about development but the Bank has five arms which all concentrate on finance.

    • You could be right… Kim is accomplished in many areas and obviously a hard worker. I, however, think he will turn out like President Obama who had little applicable experience when he was elected and the complex, ineffective legislation passed under him reflections that, imho.

      Obamacare would not be challenged by 26 states before the Supreme Court today if that legislation would have been properly conceived and written.

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