It was the World Bank's Doing Business Report that provided reporters Nitasha Tiku and Max Chafkin with economic metrics for Inc.'s Opportunity Map, and various Bank experts supplied us with dozens of other fun facts throughout our global issue. So what exactly does the World Bank do? Who does it serve? And has Paul Wolfowitz turned the fifty-year-old lending organization into a front for advancing the White House agenda?
For answers to these questions check out this excellent article by John Cassidy in last week's New Yorker. Cassidy joined Wolfowitz on a World Bank trip through Turkey, observing as the "neoconservative zealot" reveals something of a bleeding heart. At the heart of the article is Wolfowitz's conflict with the Bank's member countries and executive board to revoke aid to corrupt governments. "Current and former World Bank officials" and a number of bank shareholders have questioned Wolfowitz's criteria for corruption, Cassidy reports. "Why were projects...suspended in India and not Indonesia, which by many measures is more corrupt? Why Uzbekistan and not Tajikistan? Why Congo-Brazzaville and not the Democratic Republic of the Congo?"
How do you think lenders should deal with corrupt countries? Are we forcing the poor to pay twice when aid is withheld? What would happen if the World Bank and IMF were dissolved and private charities like the Gates' and Bill Clinton's took their place?