The World Bank: A Critical Primer

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The World Bank is a controversial organisation. It is widely viewed with suspicion, as the international economic arm of the US, in thrall to the President who is responsible for appointing the head of the Bank.

Eric Toussaint gives a highly readable account of just why the World Bank has become so powerful. In short, clear chapters he shows how the bank operates, who funds it, and what it sets out to promote.

The Bank's main purpose is to grant loans to all the newly independent states of the developing world, to help them on their journey to recovery after colonial occupation. In reality, the conditions imposed on these states - including enforced privatisation of all public services, and enforced neo-liberal rules on trade - mean that the Bank has become the new colonial authority in everything but name.

This is a perfect book for anyone looking for a critical introduction to the history of the Bank and its role in world affairs.

About the Author:
Eric Toussaint is President of the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745327143
  • Publisher: Pluto Press
  • Publication date: 3/18/2008
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Raventos is Professor at the University of Barcelona and chairman of the Spanish Basic Income Network Red Renta Basica.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     viii
About this book     ix
Abbreviations     xiii
Terminology     xv
Introduction     1
The creation of the Bretton Woods institutions     9
The first years of the World Bank (1946-62)     17
Difficult beginnings between the UN and the World Bank     30
The post-1945 context - the Marshall Plan and US bilateral aid     36
A Bank under the influence     43
World Bank and IMF support of dictatorships     61
The World Bank and the Philippines (1946-90)     73
The World Bank's support of the dictatorship in Turkey     78
The World Bank in Indonesia - a textbook case of intervention     82
The World Bank's theories of development     94
South Korea: the miracle unmasked     105
The debt trap     127
The World Bank saw the debt crisis looming     142
The Mexican debt crisis and the World Bank     151
The World Bank and the IMF: the creditors' bailiffs     160
Presidents Barber Conable and Lewis Preston (1986-95)     180
James Wolfensohn switches on the charm (1995-2005)     185
Debates in Washington at the start of the twenty-first century     193
The World Bank's accounts     205
Paul Wolfowitz, tenth World Bank president     210
Structural adjustment and the Washington Consensus: are they things of the past?     214
The World Bank and respect for human rights     222
Time to put an end to World Bank impunity     237
An indictment of the World Bank     241
The World Bank Group fact sheet     245
Afterword     253
Glossary     261
Notes to the text     271
Bibliography     304
Index     310
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