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Good news for the World Bank, and the world

This is good news: Obama just nominated Jim Yong Kim for head of the world bank.

Who is Jim Yong Kim? Apparently he’s a physician and an expert on health, which might be good to have at the head of an institution whose mission is to actually do good instead of just make a profit.

But he could be a bag of rocks and I’d be happy, because he’s not Larry Summers, who was rumored to be one of the top candidates. The same Larry Summers whose policies boiled down to taking care of Wall Street. The guy who’s a large part of the reason we’re in the mess we’re in today.

For that matter, he’s not Jeffrey Sachs, another frontrunner. There’s more to like about Sachs than about Summers, but Sachs was a big advocate for “shock therapy” after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The shock therapy that turned out to be all shock and no therapy, that devastated Russia’s economy and wound up ending its democracy.

This is maybe the first time that one of Obama’s big economic appointments went outside the circle of usual suspects. Maybe he’s starting to question his own decision to listen to the Summerses, Sachses, Bernankes, and Geithners of the world. Which is all to the good. After all, they had their chance. They blew it. They should get off the stage and give someone else–anyone else–a shot. I wish Obama had realized that three years ago, but if he’s realizing it now, heck, that’s better than nothing.

 

 

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