IMF

As the World Bank Turns

IN APRIL, THE World Bank’s executive directors selected Dr. Jim Yong Kim to serve as its president. Kim, whose five-year term begins in July, will be the first World Bank president whose primary experience is in community-level development. Most of his predecessors were bankers or politicians.

As a co-founder of Partners in Health, an international nonprofit dedicated to “a preferential option for the poor in health care,” and as a former director of the HIV/AIDS department of the World Health Organization, Kim has done groundbreaking work in delivering essential medicines for the treatment of AIDS to impoverished countries. He has a proven capacity for designing effective solutions to real problems. His election may well usher in a new culture at the World Bank—a culture that focuses not on economic growth that doesn’t trickle down, but on poverty reduction that is real.

For almost 70 years, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been major players in the global economy; the World Bank has 188 member countries, all of which must first be admitted to the IMF. In their many years of doing business, these institutions have reinvented themselves more than once. The World Bank’s focus has evolved from rebuilding Europe and Japan following World War II to supporting large-scale engineering projects in so-called “developing” countries; from emphasizing nutrition, population, and poverty in the 1970s to “adjusting” the economic policies of countries in the global South, beginning in the early 1980s.

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God and Class Warfare

Wall Street has been devastating Main Street for some time. And when the politicians -- most of them bought by Wall Street -- say nothing, it's called "responsible economics." But when somebody, anybody, complains about people suffering and that the political deck in official Washington has been stacked in favor of Wall Street, the accusation of class warfare quickly emerges. "Just who do these people think they are," they ask. The truth is that the people screaming about class warfare this week aren't really concerned about the warfare. They're just concerned that their class -- or the class that has bought and paid for their political careers -- continues to win the war.

So where is God in all of this? Is God into class warfare? No, of course not. God really does love us all, sinners and saints alike, rich and poor, mansion dwellers and ghetto dwellers. But the God of the Bible has a special concern for the poor and is openly suspicious of the rich. And if that is not clear in the Bible nothing is.

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