Breakingviews

Rob Cox: Race to bottom of global subprime begins

April 7, 2015

A new Chinese-led financial world order is emerging to challenge the IMF and World Bank. Republican U.S. presidential hopefuls Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are in a way enabling the fledgling framework. The possible competition in the market for national aid money could be worrisome.

Ecuador economic “miracle” meets maturity

September 11, 2014

President Rafael Correa’s experiments in modern socialism helped the country cut poverty, grow and prosper. But his investment-led model has run its course. Now he has to soften his defiance of international norms, from the bond market to the World Bank, to keep progress alive.

Bland Lagarde will escape the Bretton Woods curse

By Christopher Swann
August 28, 2014

The IMF chief is under investigation for signing off on a 403 million euro payout to a French tycoon. Her predecessor DSK and former World Bank boss Wolfowitz were both ousted for misconduct. Christine Lagarde, though, has few enemies. Being dull may prove her saving grace.

South Africa needs neighbors’ growth rates

May 2, 2014

Two decades after Nelson Mandela became president, the post-apartheid generation will vote for the first time in the May 7 election. The ANC represents his political legacy, but that’s undermined by the party’s weak economic results. Maybe the “Born Frees” can help change that.

Obama doesn’t even name banker to run World Bank

By Christopher Swann
March 23, 2012

Nor is Jim Yong Kim a seasoned diplomat. He’s a disease fighter and president of Dartmouth, where his tenure was marked by budget struggles. Kim’s medical background and Korean birth may mollify critics of America’s monopoly on the top job. But he’s got his work cut out for him.

World Bank wackiness explains odd U.S. choice

April 9, 2012

If the competition for the World Bank’s presidency were a normal process, Jim Kim wouldn’t stand a chance. But geopolitics and the bank’s mandate explain why the doctor who couldn’t stop Dartmouth frat boys from consuming “vomelets” may actually be an inspired choice.

IMF’s long-term worry: decades of higher rates

By Christopher Swann
October 9, 2012

Don’t get too comfortable with low borrowing costs, is the downbeat message from the normally overoptimistic fund. Slightly feebler 3.3 pct growth for 2012 is the short-term concern. But past fiscal excesses and an ageing population could push up interest rates for a generation.

World Bank boss Kim tested by Honduran loan fracas

By Christopher Swann
January 16, 2014

President Jim Kim’s goal of cutting $400 mln of expenses just got harder. With the bank under fire for lending to a company accused of thuggish behavior, the temptation will be to add red tape, slowing the already sluggish loan process and impeding efforts to cut poverty.

The Washington Consensus strikes back

September 29, 2009

If World Bank President Robert Zoellick were running a stealth campaign to become the next Republican Treasury Secretary, he might have given a speech very much like the one he just gave at Johns Hopkins University.