Re: [OPE-L] Wolfowitz as the president of the World Bank

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Fri Mar 18 2005 - 12:35:29 EST

         Your description of the independent reaction of Patrick and me to 
the petition calling for a protest of Wolfowitz's selection because it 
'risks the Bank becoming seen as a tool of the current controversial US 
foreign policy, with aid flows becoming more dependent on strict adherence 
to US Administration priorities'  as similar to the idiocy of the 'after 
Hitler, us' comment is way off base. Consider the following from today's 
Krugman column in the NYT:

The Ugly American Bank

You can say this about Paul Wolfowitz's qualifications to lead the
World Bank: He has been closely associated with America's largest
foreign aid and economic development project since the Marshall Plan.
  I'm talking, of course, about reconstruction in Iraq. Unfortunately,
what happened there is likely to make countries distrust any economic
advice Mr. Wolfowitz might give. ...

Moisés Naím, editor of Foreign Policy, says that the Wolfowitz
nomination turns the World Bank into the American Bank. Make that
ugly American bank: rightly or not, developing countries will see Mr.
Wolfowitz's selection as a sign that we're still trying to impose
policies they believe have failed.

         Maybe Patrick and I responded the way we did because we're in 
South Africa and Venezuela and see the importance of that sign and of (as 
Patrick said) linking 'our critique of neoliberalism to that of 
imperialism' and having ' the anti-war and global-justice movements unite 
in increasingly militant protests'. I think Patrick's closing note to the 
petition circulator was worth quoting:

>(And please, my old friend, don't tell us all what our 'duty' is if it
>involves giving the WB bogus legitimacy. Your statement b) is especially
>nauseating, given the WB's ongoing role in financing imperialism, as if you
>can't see that.)

         So, Jerry, is that what you are proposing--- we need to fight for 
a 'good' head of the WB?
                 in solidarity,

At 09:36 18/03/2005, Jerry Levy wrote:
>See <> 
>for some other related stories
>on this topic.
>Over on PEN-L, Patrick Bond wrote:
> >  [...] what about those of us -- I'm surely not the only one -- who 
> consider this
> > appointment a delightful turn of events?
> > There are plenty of us:
> > * who would delegitimize the World Bank and will have a much easier 
> time of it now;
>Patrick even went on to claim that Wolfowitz was an "excellent choice for WB
>Easier time of it now?  This strikes me as fanciful thinking reminiscent 
>of the
>"Nach Hitler, Uns!" ("After Hitler, Us") 1932  KPD policy.  The idea is 
>that the
>selection of Wolfowitz allows for  greater "transparency" and therefore 
>helps to
>build resistance to the WB and Neo-Liberalism.  This was similar to the KPD
>policy which thought that after people were exposed to fascism and see its
>iron fist in practice then this will lead to increased resistance to 
>fascism and
>the KPD will be elected into power. It didn't work in Germany.  Why should we
>think it will work now?  (NB: Of course there are differences and thus this
>analogy is not entirely accurate: e.g. bourgeois democracy nowhere directly
>enters into the picture in the WB or the selection of its president.)
>But Mike L agreed with Patrick:
> > Exactly, Patrick! Now, what about the ILO being headed up by someone
> > from Coca-Cola or Walmart?  Not quite the same, of course [...]
>If the WB now actively and publicly supports "regime change" in Cuba and
>Venezuela will that also be an excellent development since more people
>will see the "transparency" of WB policies?  I doubt that the Cuban and
>Venezuelan masses or their leadership would view it in such a positive
>What do you and others on the list think?  Is it a good thing for the working-
>class that the Neo-Con Wolfowitz was selected to lead the WB?
>In solidarity, Jerry

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at
Residencias Anauco Suites
Departamento 601
Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1
Caracas, Venezuela
(58-212) 573-4111
fax: (58-212) 573-7724

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