F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
January 2, 2000
Let's Foreclose on the World Bank

F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

After 50 years in operation, and billions of dollars transferred to Third World countries, the World Bank has established a remarkable record of failure. Surely it's past time to close the bank and stop the waste.

"The World Bank has failed utterly in its mission to bring economic development to less developed countries," reports Paul Georgia of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "Instead," he notes, "it has promoted human rights abuses, environmental destruction, and economic stagnation."

In a recent issue of CEI Update, the monthly newsletter of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Paul Georgia asserts that the continuing existence of the World Bank after 50 years of failure is "a testament to its resilience. Part of the secret of its survival has been an ability to reinvent itself when pressed. The World Bank was created shortly after World War II," he recalls, "to aid in the reconstruction of wartorn Europe. By 1968, the World Bank had outlived its usefulness. Under the direction of Bank President Robert McNamara," Georgia observes, "it took on the role of a humanitarian organization that would work to eliminate 'absolute poverty.' Yet," he concludes, "after 30 years and billions of dollars transferred to less developed countries, no success stories come to mind."

Georgia cites the bank's socialistic approach as the major cause of its failure, pointing out that "the vast majority of World Bank funds are distributed directly to beneficiary nations' governments. Top-down, command-and-control style economic development has failed everywhere it has been tried," he contends. "Central planning, international wealth redistribution, and coercion cannot lead to economic growth. . . ." Georgia emphasizes that the World Bank "doesn't have the ability or the incentive to monitor how its funds are used. It measures success by the quantity and speed of loan disbursements," he says, "not in terms of genuine economic development."

Georgia accuses the World Bank of being "an accessory to the continued economic stagnation perpetrated upon the poor by Third World governments. The benefits of World Bank projects," he charges, "go to politicians and the multinational corporations that are contracted to build them, not the poor. Rather than trying to force the World Bank to act against its nature," Georgia recommends, "the U.S. should cease all funding and withdraw its membership."

Georgia's critique of the World Bank offers yet another argument for abolition of the federal income tax and repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment. After all, without the income tax that our Founding Fathers expressly proscribed, our federal government would not be able to fleece the American citizens for the benefit of favored business interests using foreign embezzlers as front men. Foreign aid, welfare, and all the other redistributionist schemes of the past 86 years are the inevitable result of allowing a central government unlimited access to the wealth of its people. Wily Washingtonians complain of insufficient funds to finance "essential" programs, but for nine decades now there's been too much capital in the capital, corrupting all who solicit and all who disburse it. Campaign finance reform is a fraud; only the end of the income tax can restore integrity to our government.

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