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Ending America’s World Bank Monopoly

David Malpass, US President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the flagship development bank, appears distinctly unsuited to the job. To protect the World Bank 's work– and the interests of the world's poor – it may be time to end the tradition whereby the American candidate always wins.

NEW YORK – The nomination earlier this month of David Malpass, a senior US Treasury Department official, for the post of World Bank president came as something of a relief. Malpass is, after all, the choice of US President Donald Trump, who is known for backing extreme and unqualified job candidates. But that does not mean that Malpass is the ideal choice for the job.

In fact, while it could have been worse, Malpass’ nomination was a distinct disappointment. For one thing, his skepticism toward multilateral institutions runs deep. For another, he is a Trump loyalist who has often stressed the paramount importance of economic growth – especially US growth. More fundamentally, Malpass is conservative, and the World Bank is not.

To be sure, the World Bank was once the standard-bearer of economic orthodoxy, reflected in the post-Cold War policy cocktail of privatization and deregulation known as the Washington Consensus. The institution codified a set of archconservative rules on trade, capital flows, and fiscal and monetary policies, with which it then compelled developing economies around the world to comply.

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