The Corner

New Boss at World Bank

President Bush has appointed Robert Zoellick to be president of the World Bank. Zoellick is a good man—a supply-sider and a free trader.

But the bigger question is, do we really need the World Bank?

Free market capitalism is spreading like gangbusters across the globe, and with it, the proliferation of private capital markets to channel investment everywhere.

Instead of making cheap loans at below market rates to state planning governments in Africa and elsewhere, the real key to fighting poverty is putting markets—not World Bank bureaucrats—in the driver’s seat.

Both the IMF and the World Bank are unnecessary artifacts from a bygone, post-WWII reconstruction era. Instead of government-to-government lending, poor nations need pro-market reforms that will then attract private capital flows. This will subject low-income nations to the same marketplace discipline that China, India, Russia, Eastern Europe and Latin America have all been subjected to.

The thousands of World Bank bureaucrats with their tax-free salaries know very well that private market capitalism is overtaking their mission. So they want to morph the World Bank into some kind of super-sized global warming bureaucracy—something we clearly don’t need.

It’ll be up to Mr. Zoellick to discipline the World Bank. And it won’t be an easy task.

By the way, I just love how President Bush defended Paul Wolfowitz at the Zoellick announcement ceremony. In doing so, the President really stuck it to the anti-Bush, anti-Iraq, anti-American, World Bank bureaucracy.

These guys jumped all over Wolfowitz, mainly because he was an architect of the Iraq war mission—not because of his girlfriend.

Bush sticking it in the collective eye of the World Bank is one of the many reasons to love Dubya.

Larry Kudlow is the author of JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity, written with Brian Domitrovic.

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