World Bank: Wrong Man for the Job

Last week, President Obama nominated Dartmouth president Jim Yong Kim to serve as the next president of the World Bank. (The United States de facto holds the World Bank’s presidency, while Europe gets the International Monetary Fund’s.) Jim Yong Kim has an impressive résumé. He has been one of the world’s pioneers in the field of global health. As an accomplished academic, winner of a MacArthur grant, the head of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS program, and a cofounder of Partners in Health, a global NGO, he has devoted his career to saving lives with incredible effectiveness and creativity. (He also taught me in a superb class in college.) In particular, his work against tuberculosis with Partners in Health has at the very least saved thousands of lives, and has helped lead to a reexamination of a lot of global health policy.

But what would an M.D. and social anthropologist be doing running the World Bank? Yes, the Bank, unlike the IMF, is exclusively concerned with the developing world, obviously an area of Kim’s expertise: The institution provides low- and middle-income countries with financial support, whether loans, grants, or guarantees, and with development advice and policy prescriptions.

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