If he has done nothing else in his short two years as the nation’s chief executive officer, President Donald Trump has certainly upset the apple cart of the way things are done on an international scale. His newest step in that direction, appointing a head of the World Bank, is sure to continue that trend. The president’s choice is David Malpass, a Treasury official, and word on the street is that he is a polar opposite of his would be predecessor, Jim Yong Kim, who resigned with three years to go in his term.
Malpass has portrayed the World Bank as too big, too inefficient and too reluctant to wean developing countries that have become engines of growth. His public record suggests Malpass may scale back the bank’s ambitions at a time when China has escalated lending to the developing world….
Malpass, 62, joined Trump’s campaign early as an economic adviser. As undersecretary of international affairs at the Treasury, he has enthusiastically supported the president’s agenda of tax cuts and deregulation to bolster economic growth.
He has also echoed the president’s doubts about international cooperation, declaring that “multilateralism has gone substantially too far” by straying from the “values of limited government, freedom and the rule of law.”
He has pushed the World Bank to lend less to China, arguing the Asian nation has the financial resources to support itself and has criticized Beijing for not moving fast enough to open up its economy, the world’s second largest.
In the end, the nations involved with the World Bank, 189 in all, will do the final approval. In the meantime, the Trump Administration is reaching out to member nations to drum up support which will happen after the State of the Union address according to anonymous sources to Bloomberg.
The World Bank was conceived during World War II at a conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, that also spawned the International Monetary Fund. Treasury official Harry Dexter White and the British economist John Maynard Keynes were the chief architects of the two institutions, which underpinned the postwar economic order.
The bank’s original purpose was to finance the reconstruction of Europe. But under Robert McNamara, who led the bank from 1968 to 1981, it shifted its focus toward financing development in the world’s poorest countries, a mission it maintains to this day.
Which begs the question of why China is such a big focus of the World Bank. China is not one of the world’s poorest countries.