who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Jesse Jackson writes. A comment piece from civil rights activist and former US presidential candidate Jesse Jackson asks if fighting world poverty is "a ping-pong game between the U.S. and Europe, a game in which the poorer nations are not even allowed to enter". He argues passionately that "we must challenge the process, right now, by acting as if the Southern nations matter".

The Jesse Jackson piece in full ...

Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
March 23, 2005

The Bush Administration in general, and Paul Wolfowitz in particular, would have you believe that 1,500 Americans have died, perhaps 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed, and more than $200 billion has been spent on invading and occupying Iraq, in the name of “democracy.”

Funny then that Paul Wolfowitz is now being promoted in a secret, opaque, closely-held process that freezes out most of the world. Of special note, the selection of the new World Bank head freezes out the 1 billion people who live on less than $1 per day, and the 3 billion who live on less than $2 per day. It freezes out the entire Southern hemisphere­Africa, Asia, South America. In fact, it freezes out everyone who is not a Bush loyalist in the U.S., or a nervous European elite.

It is as if fighting world poverty were a ping-pong game between the U.S. and Europe, a game in which the poorer nations are not even allowed to enter.

But why? Why should the world’s poorest people be excluded from the process of selecting one of the most important leaders who will affect their lives? Why are the nations most controlled by World Bank and International Monetary Fund policies not allowed to nominate, or even participate in any meaningful way, in the selection of new leadership?

Is Nelson Mandela less qualified to run the World Bank than Paul Wolfowitz? Or how about one of the Brazilians behind the Lula government’s innovative proposal to eliminate hunger by taxing international arms sales?

Or, since we know that the most direct route to fighting world poverty is to empower and educate poor women, why not a woman from the South to lead the World Bank, say, Arundhati Roy of India, or Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai of Kenya, a woman who actually knows something about helping poor people with sustainable development?

These names are not even considered. Only Americans, and even then, only hard-core Bush loyalists, are in the loop. In an entirely secret process, despite his lack of development credentials, and despite the widespread rejection of the idea when the Wolfowitz name was first floated publicly, George W. Bush followed up on his divisive choice of John Bolton for the U.N. with the promotion of leading war hawk Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank.

Forget all that talk about reconciliation with Europe and the rest of the world. Bush’s picks were like a thumb in each of the world’s wide-open eyes.

Since Bush makes up his own rules as he goes along, so should we. After all, when George W. Bush meets with Tony Blair, that’s a minority meeting­the U.S. & the U.K. together are only one-sixteenth of the world!

It’s time for a new set of international rules. The IMF is not just the property of Europe; and the World Bank can no longer be just a tool of U.S. foreign policy.

“One-dollar, one-vote” is no recipe for democracy.

The South deserves a voice, and a candidate. The South should nominate one of their own this week, even if just to break the stranglehold the U.S. & European elites have on the process, just to crack the ice a bit.

That nominee should have a program, a “4-D” platform:

• Democracy program, to open up the WB/IMF systems to the whole world;
• Development program, to move from big energy projects to micro-, women-centered projects, with an emphasis on renewable technologies;
• Disease-fighting program, to battle AIDs and malaria, and the other dread diseases which ravage the Southern hemisphere; and,
• Debt cancellation program, to completely eliminate the debts of Africa and Latin America, to bring the “Jubilee” described in the Bible to the world’s poorest people. 100% debt cancellation, with no conditions, no tricks, no limitations, no restrictions­the single most useful step we could take to fight world poverty.

We must challenge the process, right now, by acting as if the Southern nations matter. Nominate a Southerner. Practice democracy. Cancel the debt. Wipe the slate clean, and let’s start over.

3 billion poor people are waiting.

Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., is the Founder & President of the National Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and a former candidate for President in 1984 & 1988.

Alex Wilks ~ March 23, 2005

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