William Easterly is uncharacteristically credulous today. He spoke to one of those Senior Administration Officials on Wednesday, and the Official gave Easterly the official explanation for why Jim Yong Kim has failed to RSVP for the CGD/Washington Post forum or for any other public appearance.
Thomas Bollyky has a subtle and slightly confusing op-ed in the NYT today, entitled “How to Fix the World Bank”. Worldbankpresident.org, your one-stop shop for all news on the race, calls it “an important endorsement for Jim Kim, and for change at the World Bank”. But while it’s the latter — Bollyky’s case for change is strong and compelling — it’s by no means the former. Indeed, Kim in many ways represents the status quo ante, and a vote against change at the Bank.
When Barack Obama nominated Jim Yong Kim to be the president of the World Bank, the most notable thing that he said was about Trayvon Martin. And since then, Kim has disappeared. Jesse Griffiths put up a post on Sunday starting a Kim-watch, but so far nothing; it’s increasingly obvious that he’s not going to turn up, for instance, for the CGD/World Bank Q&A sessions next week. (They’re being webcast; Okonjo-Iweala is up at 3pm on Monday, while Ocampo is scheduled for 4pm on Tuesday.)
If you want to get a great feel for the difference between Jim Yong Kim and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, just check out what they’ve said in public about what they want to do with the presidency of the World Bank.
I first wrote at length about Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in September 2005, when the magazine gave her its genuinely prestigious Finance Minister of the Year award. It’s here, on my Tumblr, since the original is behind a paywall. (Update: you can read it directly now, Euromoney has taken it out from behind the paywall.)
What is it about the heads of the World Bank and IMF and their relation with sexual politics? Both Paul Wolfowitz and Dominique Strauss-Kahn lost their jobs because of the way that they treated women, while Strauss-Kahn’s predecessor, Rodrigo de Rato, resigned unexpectedly in the midst of what was described as an “acrimonious divorce”. No woman has ever headed the Bank, and Christine Lagarde is the first woman to head the IMF; they’ve historically been men’s clubs, and none the better for it.
Remember Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s interview with Larry Summers in January? He asked about Inside Job‘s allegations that Summers was a clear beneficiary of the revolving door. Now see if you can spot a recurring phrase in Larry’s answer: