The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

The World Bank:
In the service of the great powers, with the U.S. in the lead

Apr 4, 2005

Bush nominated Paul Wolfowitz, Assistant Secretary of Defense, one of his closest advisors and one of the main architects of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, to be president of the World Bank.

This choice isn't surprising. It was simply Bush's way to emphasize that U.S. imperialism is imposing the interests of its capitalists on the rest of the world.

The World Bank presents itself as a multilateral institution, which distributes 20 billion dollars in annual loans to developing countries. It pretends that its purpose is to fight poverty in the poor countries. But this is just as much a lie as pretending that the U.S. intervened in Iraq to free the Iraqi people. In reality, the World Bank is one of those international organisms created to lubricate the machinery of the international capitalist economy, while assuring the domination of the U.S.

The World Bank is global in name only. It may include 184 countries, but the U.S., Japan, Germany, France and Great Britain alone represent just under 40% of the votes on the Board of Directors. And they each have one director, while 23 countries of Central and West Africa together share only one director, who has just over one% of the votes! According to the outgoing President of the Bank, James Wolfensohn, "there has been a convention that the President of the Bank – and there have been nine of them so far – would be nominated by the President of the United States, and not surprisingly has always been an American citizen." Wolfowitz was rapidly made president by the directors of the Bank.

The World Bank was set up after World War II by the U.S. government to loan money to the European states, which were incapable of paying for products produced by U.S. suppliers. It now loans money to the governments of the poor countries so that they can place orders with the corporations of the rich countries.

The World Bank has several parts. Its International Financial Corporation "seeks to bring together investment opportunities, domestic and foreign private capital." Its Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency "may guarantee eligible investments against a loss." Finally it includes the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, whose name spells it out. All this clearly indicates that the role of the World Bank isn't to protect the population of the world against hunger and disease, but to protect investments.

The selection of Wolfowitz is an exact symbol of what the World Bank is.