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.
Eric Toussaint is president of the Brussels-based Committee for Cancellation of the Third World Debt and is a Fellow and frequent lecturer at the International Institute for Research and Education in Amsterdam. He edits the journal Les Autres Voix de la Planete and is the author of The World Bank (Pluto, 2007) and Your Money or Your Life! (Pluto, 2005).
About this book Terminology Introduction 1. The creation of the Bretton Woods institutions 2. The first years of the World Bank (1946-1962) 3. Difficult beginnings between the UN and the World Bank 4. The post-World War II context - the Marshall Plan and US bilateral aid 5. A Bank under the influence 6. World Bank and IMF support of dictatorships 7. The World Bank and the Philippines (1946-1990) 8. The World Bank's support of the dictatorship in Turkey 9. The Bank in Indonesia: a textbook case of intervention 10. The World Bank's theories on development 11. South Korea: the miracle unmasked 12. The debt trap 13. The World Bank saw the debt crisis looming 14. The Mexican debt crisis and the World Bank 15. The World Bank and the IMF: the creditors' bailiffs 16. Presidents Barber Conable and Lewis Preston (1986-1995) 17. James Wolfensohn switches on the charm (1995-2005) 18. Debates in Washington at the start of the twenty-first century 19. The World Bank's accounts 20. Paul Wolfowitz, 10th World Bank President 21. Structural adjustment and the Washington Consensus: are they things of the past? 22. The World Bank and the respect of human rights 23. Time to put an end to World Bank impunity 24. An indictment of the World Bank Afterword: Interview with Eric Toussaint Notes Bibliography Index