President Obama nominated the current president of Dartmouth College, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, to head the World Bank. A physician and public health expert with no finance background, he’s an unconventional choice to say the least. Who he is, why he was chosen, how he stacks up against the well-known economists nominated by others: Colombian Jose Antonio Ocampoor and Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Guests

  • Howard Schneider Staff Reporter, Washington Post
  • Lawrence MacDonald Vice President, Communications and Policy Outreach, Center for Global Development

Transcript

  • 13:06:45

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," connecting your neighborhood with the world. Later in the broadcast, your turn. Did you attend the Reason Rally this past weekend? Are atheists discriminated against in our society? We'll be asking for your calls and emails then. But first, if you were given the choice, who would you pick to head the World Bank?

  • 13:07:21

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIIt's a fair bet your first choice would not be someone without banking experience, someone who is not an economist or even a diplomat. So you can understand why President Obama surprised everyone on Friday by nominating a doctor, a public health specialist without a finance background as his top pick for the World Bank.

  • 13:07:41

    MR. KOJO NNAMDICountries around the globe have complained the World Bank is too heavily dominated by American interests and by white men for years. So excitement grew over the past few weeks as a group of African countries threw their support behind a woman, the Nigerian finance minister, for the top job at the World Bank and Brazil put its weight behind a Columbian professor of economics now teaching at an American university.

  • 13:08:07

    MR. KOJO NNAMDISo who is Dr. Jim Yong Kim? And does President Obama think a man focused on getting healthcare to the poorest of the poor could be the right man at the right time to lead the World Bank? Joining us in studio to discuss this is Howard Schneider. He is a staff reporter with The Washington Post. Howard, thank you so much for joining us.

  • 13:08:25

    MR. HOWARD SCHNEIDERThanks for inviting me.

  • 13:08:25

    NNAMDIAlso with us is Lawrence MacDonald, vice president for Communications and Policy Outreach with the Center for Global Development. Lawrence MacDonald, thank you for joining us.

  • 13:08:35

    MR. LAWRENCE MACDONALDKojo, it's a real pleasure to be here.

  • 13:08:36

    NNAMDIWe're inviting your calls at 800-433-8850. Does it make sense to you that the U.S. still controls the presidency of the World Bank? 800-433-8850. You can send email to kojo@wamu.org. Send us a tweet at kojoshow or simply go to our website, kojoshow, and join the conversation there. The website is kojoshow.org. It's an interesting time at the World Bank. Its priorities are going to have to change, right?

  • 13:09:02

    NNAMDII mean, until recently, India was one of the bank's largest recipients of money and soon it will be a donor. Things changing, Howard?

  • 13:09:11

    SCHNEIDERWell, things are changing a lot and I think that's one of the issues that these candidates, the three of them now, will be discussing and discussing with the bank's executive board over there. You know, the role of China, India, Brazil, there is particularly fascinating. You know, these countries, China, in particular, say does not have any trouble borrowing exactly what it needs on world markets when it needs money. It's still a developing country. Per capita, GDP very low, but it's in a position to do more for some of these international organizations.

  • 13:09:46

    NNAMDIAre we, in a way, Lawrence MacDonald, looking at a redefinition in a way of what the World Bank is?

  • 13:09:51

    MACDONALDI think the redefinition is definitely needed. I think the bank has been focused on (word?) reduction in a world in which capital was mostly in a small number of very rich countries. And as Howard mentioned, we now have these big emerging market countries with plenty of capital. We also have a new set of problems, sometimes called the Global Commons, things like climate change and the collapse of fisheries, that can't really be solved by single country loans.

  • 13:10:19

    NNAMDIWell, Howard, when most of us hear World Bank, we think of, well, a bank. But others say we should think of it more as the world's largest development agency. How would you explain the World Bank's role in a few sentences?

  • 13:10:33

    SCHNEIDERWell, it's evolved since World War II. You know, it was founded on the basis of we need to move money into Europe to rebuild infrastructure there. And for many, many years, it sort of kept that infrastructure emphasis. What it is really now is five different organizations. There's still a lending arm and they don't really offer any countries any break. They raise money by selling bonds in the private market. They have a very good credit rating and then they lend it out and they actually make money off of those loans.

  • 13:11:03

    SCHNEIDERThese are loans that go to countries like China and Brazil that don't need any really concessional help. And then they have the International Development Agency, which is the concessional window, the one that gives lower-rate loans, below market-rate loans or outright grants to countries, the poorer countries of the world.

  • 13:11:21

    SCHNEIDERI think there are 79 of them now. And as Todd Moss, one of Lawrence's colleagues points out, that pool of people that qualify for the concessional lending is getting smaller and smaller and smaller. That's one of the reasons why there's a discussion about redefining the bank's role.

  • 13:11:38

    NNAMDIIndeed, Lawrence, 20 years ago or arguably even five or ten years ago, the dividing line between developing countries and rich countries was much clearer and therefore the bank's role was much clearer. And the bank's role would have been easier to explain since it was often the financial institution that would lend money to a government that could not access the private financial markets. But today, that's no longer the case so what does the bank do today?

  • 13:12:03

    MACDONALDWell, I think that's the real question. And there are many people, including Nancy Birdsall who leads my Center, who have been arguing that the bank needs a new model that is not focused primarily on country loans, that would support international efforts to address shared problems. Climate change, in particular, we have the U.N. trying to address this through the negotiations, but we don't have a body, an international body, that even makes it its job to gather and share data about emissions.

  • 13:12:32

    MACDONALDWe can't have an enforceable agreement about reduced emissions if we don't have a standard definition of how much heat-trapping gases are being emitted. This is just one example of the kind of thing where the bank has strong technical expertise. It represents a consensus view of international nations. And they could be working together on these kinds of problems, but not if they're all about country loans.

  • 13:12:56

    NNAMDIWe're talking about changing at the World Bank and our guests are Lawrence MacDonald, vice president for Communications and Policy Outreach for the Center for Global Development and Howard Schneider, staff reporter with The Washington Post. We are inviting your calls at 800-433-8850. How do you view America's involvement in the World Bank? Should we cede the presidency to another country?

  • 13:13:17

    NNAMDI800-433-8850. Howard, when current President Robert Zoellick announced he'd be stepping down in June, it set in motion a familiar parlor game, kind of like March Madness for the international development geeks here in Washington. Who were some of the names being thrown around?

  • 13:13:37

    SCHNEIDERWell, at the very outset, you know, you had a lot of focus on Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, that's someone who a lot of people thought would be a natural for this. If you talk to executive directors at the bank, particularly former U.S. executive directors, people who held that spot in the past, they'll tell you that having a political heavyweight, a diplomat, is important to move an organization like that. So she was sort of a natural.

  • 13:14:03

    SCHNEIDERThen you had some of the top economists, people like Robert Summers up at Harvard University. You know, when his name started to be bandied about, it generated a little bit of controversy because of his comments in the past about women and things like that. And I think there was concern that it was kind of like, well, you know, the usual suspects. Are we going to get beyond this? And in fact, it turned out that we did when President Obama announced his nominee.

  • 13:14:25

    NNAMDIDartmouth President Jim Yong Kim was not on anyone's short list. He's a medical doctor who made a strong contribution to healthcare in the developing world. Is that correct, Lawrence?

  • 13:14:37

    MACDONALDYeah, that's absolutely right. He's also written a book which I think is raising some highbrows now called "Dying for Growth." This was published some years ago. It's not clear if he still has those views, but it represents, I think, a common critique on the left that going all out for growth is not necessarily good for poor people and that growth, in fact, may be the wrong goal.

  • 13:14:59

    MACDONALDThat is not the view of the finance ministers who largely look to the World Bank for support and it's not a view that is supported by empirical research. Within the community of development economists, the one thing that they feel that they know is that growth actually does lift people out of poverty. And so I think as these candidates are examined more closely, Jim Yong Kim's view on this, which may appeal to some of our listeners who describe themselves as progressives, but are not widely held in the development community, those are going to be questioned pretty closely.

  • 13:15:30

    NNAMDIHoward Schneider, if Jim Yong Kim is approved by the World Bank board, he would be the first non-white male to lead the World Bank, but he would not depart from tradition in one vital way. The president would still be an American. Why does the U.S. traditionally name the head of the World Bank?

  • 13:15:47

    SCHNEIDERWell, this was a sort of a longstanding agreement that came out of the Bretton Woods Conference, post-World War II, when the powers of the world got together and sort of figured out how to rebuild Europe from the ashes of all that destruction. One of the organizations set up was the International Monetary Fund, the other was the World Bank and they kind of, you know, split the difference here.

  • 13:16:09

    SCHNEIDERThe Europeans get to name the head of the IMF. The U.S. gets to name the head of the World Bank, that's kind of stuck now. Sixty years later we're starting to hear some discussions about it, where before, but this is a very longstanding sort of perk that the U.S. gets.

  • 13:16:23

    NNAMDIYeah, we're beginning to hear some discussions about it, Lawrence MacDonald, but here in the U.S., it's an election year and already there's a line of attack against President Barack Obama that he apologizes for America when he's abroad. Given that backdrop, did anybody really think he would name a non-American to this position?

  • 13:16:42

    MACDONALDI certainly didn't think he would name a non-American and I don't think there was much speculation that he would, partly because it's an election year, but partly that it's in the United States' interest to put forward a strong candidate. I think the surprise is that some of the first-line candidates that he might have preferred, people like Secretary Clinton and Robert Summers, for one reason or another, either said they weren't interested or were deemed to be politically unacceptable and so he came up with this surprise candidate.

  • 13:17:11

    MACDONALDAnd I think it's also worth saying, you know, why for the first time we have a competition that really came out of the financial crisis in 2008 where as part of the deal in getting India and China and other big developing countries to come on board as part of the G20, and to participate in a global stimulus package, in the G20, said in a statement that the United States signed on to a leadership selection for the international financial institution that should be open and competitive.

  • 13:17:39

    MACDONALDThat's a change and so the first time we have two nominees who are non-Americans and the countries represented on the board have an opportunity to make a choice.

  • 13:17:47

    NNAMDIAmong the names that were submitted, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Jose Antonio Ocampo, a Columbian economist, and Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs, some of the names being bandied about. On to the telephone, here is John in Bethesda, Md. John, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:18:07

    JOHNHi, yeah, thanks for taking my call. I was calling because I was slightly surprised to see the Washington Post report that President Obama in his speech nominating Kim said that he felt that the prime objective of the bank should be to alleviate poverty and we should have perhaps a greater focus on that. Now I was a bank staff member. I joined in 1972. And in fact, that was the year when McNamara made his speech declaring exactly the same thing.

  • 13:18:46

    JOHNAnd for the next 20 years, you know, the bank had a very sharp focus on poverty. And gradually, with some of the reasons that your colleagues were discussing, the bank got to broader and broader set of types of operations because it was clear that direction of aid specifically towards the poor didn't always really achieve its objectives.

  • 13:19:14

    JOHNAnd, you know, I think there are, therefore, perhaps a couple of questions as to whether Mr. Kim, even though he has a whole lot of experience in delivering services to the poor, is really, you know, that's the sort of background and professional position that really we need at this point to lead the bank, as opposed to somebody like the Nigerian lady who has worked for years in the bank, come up through the ranks, been foreign finance minister in Nigeria and has really seen the way in which the role of the bank has been evolving.

  • 13:19:51

    NNAMDII'd like to have both of our panelists comment on that, first you, Lawrence MacDonald.

  • 13:19:55

    MACDONALDWell, I think John raises an interesting point. The bank, its primary goal is and should remain poverty reduction, but poverty reduction doesn't necessarily mean only providing services to poor people. It is first and foremost a financial institution. You need an understanding of finance and in recent years, much of the development dialogue has focused on what is called institution building. That is, how do you strengthen countries courts and their customs administration and the delivery of, say, the health sector itself so that they can deliver health care to poor people?

  • 13:20:32

    MACDONALDThose are a complex set of issues that not very many people have experience across the board. I think Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who I should say, full disclosure, is a member of our board, she has dealt with those things both inside the bank and as the minister of finance in Nigeria. Whereas, Jim Kim, for all of his strengths, is primarily in a single sector in global health.

  • 13:20:55

    NNAMDIAnd your take on this, Howard Schneider?

  • 13:20:56

    SCHNEIDERWell, I would say, this is really the issue we're going to be interested in as this nomination progress because I kind of wondered about that as well. And was President Obama suggesting that he feels the mission of the banks should be narrowed in some way. Now, step back from this a second. Bob Zoellick, the current president, takes a lot, you know, will often mention things that the bank did during the financial crisis such as setting up credit lines and trade finance lines for banks in Eastern Europe to make sure their financial sector stayed upright during the crisis.

  • 13:21:31

    SCHNEIDERIs that something that the world bank should do or not? If you say it should be focused on poverty reduction, maybe you exclude some of those things that really fall more under the ambit of the IMF or, you know, other development banks around the world.

  • 13:21:44

    NNAMDIGot to take a short break. We will pursue that line of conversation when we come back. If you have called, stay on the line, we will get to your call. We still have lines open at 800-433-8850. We're talking about the World Bank and President Obama's nomination to head the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim. 800-433-8850, is Kim the right pick in your view to head up the bank? You can also send email to kojo@wamu.org. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

  • 13:24:02

    NNAMDIWelcome back, we're discussing President Obama's nomination of Dr. Jim Yong Kim to be the next head of the World Bank. He is the President of Dartmouth College and one of our emails, John, says "Don't forget to mention that Dr. Kim is not only a physician, he's also an anthropologist." Well, yes, we did mention it. Sitting in studio with us is Howard Schneider. He's a staff reporter with the Washington Post. And Lawrence MacDonald, Vice President, Communications and Policy Outreach with the Center for Global Development. Quick question about process, Howard. President Obama nominated someone to this position, but the position won't be filled until the World Bank board votes. How does that work?

  • 13:24:42

    SCHNEIDERWell, you know, this will be the first time they've gone through what is ostensibly a competitive process. Now, the, you know, big asterisk footnote on that. Dr. Kim is all likelihood going to be the next President of the World Bank. You have to give some credit to Madame Ngozi and Professor Ocampoor, to put themselves out here, to open this process up at a little bit. What'll happen in the next couple of weeks? The board will interview both of them, all three of them.

  • 13:25:12

    SCHNEIDERKim is now off on a listening tour around the world that's going to take him out of the country until, I think, April 9th or something like that. And then they'll make a decision by the World Bank IMF spring meetings which I believe are around April 20th. So at some time over the next few weeks, they'll be an interview, the board will then vote and you know we'll be calling Dr. Kim, the President of the World Bank at that point.

  • 13:25:35

    NNAMDIOnto Debbie in Burtonsville, Md. Debbie, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:25:40

    DEBBIEYes, thank you Kojo. I listen to your show a whole lot especially when I'm off. The question of the president of the World Bank, I think, should normally go to an American. Not because of anything, but because there's no semblance of corruption in projects. And with Dr. Kim having been to developing countries and headed such (word?) project in such areas. He will understand some of the projects.

  • 13:26:08

    DEBBIEFor example, in developing countries, my country of origin, for example, the grant alone for a road width, for example, 12 meters. When you go to look at that road, the width is just four meters and obviously they'll come and inaugurate the road, that the road has been installed -- funded by World Bank. But that road has never -- does not meet the specifications for which the law was intended.

  • 13:26:35

    NNAMDIWhat is...

  • 13:26:35

    DEBBIEThirdly, accountability. Some of these candidates from the countries are seconded by their heads of states. So they will be more accountable to the whimsies of whoever seconded them as if they owe them a duty. And it's just fair to have an American there holding the purse strings in these times of economic...

  • 13:26:59

    NNAMDIDebbie, if you don't mind my asking, what is your country of origin?

  • 13:27:03

    DEBBIEMy country -- I'm from Sub-Saharan Africa and I'm from Cameroon. After being in this country for 20 years or so, I went back to my country of origin this December. I was ashamed, shocked and just saddened as the state of the city (unintelligible) independence, to see the way it is. So let them give it to an American and (unintelligible) ...

  • 13:27:23

    NNAMDIWhy were you concerned? You -- are you concerned specifically about corruption?

  • 13:27:27

    DEBBIECorruption.

  • 13:27:28

    NNAMDIOkay, that's enough.

  • 13:27:29

    DEBBIEProjects not meeting standards for which those laws were originally intended for and accountability.

  • 13:27:36

    NNAMDIDebbie raises the question of governance in relation to some of the candidates for these positions coming from countries in which the governance and the government cannot be entirely trusted as a reason for giving it to the government of the United States even though the person is nominated by the President of the United States. What do you say to that, Lawrence MacDonald?

  • 13:27:57

    MACDONALDWell, Debbie, I think if, you know, having an American head of the World Bank was a cure for corruption or at least a cure for corruption in World Bank projects, you wouldn't of seen what you saw with the road. All of the candidates are qualified in a variety of ways. But I think Ngozi is the one who's most closely associated with anti-corruption efforts. Nigeria, as you know, has a terrible problem with corruption and she's been very outspoken and she understands the complexities of fighting corruption. She's also raised, in a way that I think no candidate from the United States, from a rich Northern Country, is likely to.

  • 13:28:30

    MACDONALDThe problem of money from the developing world finding its way very quickly to bank accounts in the rich world especially in Switzerland. She's given a speech at my center about this very problem. So I think that she views and understands corruption in a way that should she be lucky enough to be selected and I agree with Howard that outcome is probably not likely, I think she would be very strong fighter against corruption.

  • 13:28:55

    NNAMDIHowever, Howard, Debbie is addressing a problem of perception here in the United States, a perception that is probably commonly held by a lot of people outside of the international development community.

  • 13:29:08

    SCHNEIDERWell, and particularly on Capitol Hill. It has to approve...

  • 13:29:11

    NNAMDIThat's what I thinking.

  • 13:29:12

    SCHNEIDER...that has to approve any appropriation. So, you know, just a word about merit in a sense and Lawrence raises this idea. At some level, I mean, you could pluck people from dozens of countries, put them all in a room and you know pick one at random and they'd all be as qualified as the next. There's a lot of talent out there. And in a sense, it all reduces down to a political decision at some point. Who's going to be the most effective head of this organization? Who's going to keep the money flowing? And, you know, in that sense, maybe you do want an American there.

  • 13:29:42

    NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. Let's stay with this issue for a second and hear from Abdula (sp?) in Washington, D.C. Abdula, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:29:50

    ABDULAYeah, thank you so much, Kojo, for taking my call. In particular, I'm kind of like more inclined to Professor Sachs. For some reason, I felt very much that he sympathizes with (unintelligible) a country much more and he understands the complexity of development and order need in that part of the world rather than turning into some political bias from any particular wing. So I'll take my comment off the air, thank you.

  • 13:30:16

    NNAMDIAnd Columbia University Professor, Jeffrey Sachs?

  • 13:30:19

    SCHNEIDERWell, he has actually withdrawn from that. He kind of nominated himself and then was put into contention formally. But when, you know, he was trying to make a point, which was, A, don't pick Larry Summers. And -- they're old nemesis. And, B, think about development. So I think when Dr. Kim was announced, he sort of felt, well, maybe I made my point, and he pulled back very graciously and pulled himself out.

  • 13:30:45

    MACDONALDAnd endorsed Dr. Kim, I understand. At least, according to Twitter.

  • 13:30:48

    SCHNEIDERHe did, very forceful.

  • 13:30:50

    NNAMDIHere's Chris in Boston, Mass. Chris, your turn.

  • 13:30:54

    CHRISYes, hi, Kojo. I just wanted to mention that, firstly, I think that, you know, it's always a good thing to have a change of leadership. I just wanted to point out that most of the original founding World Bank Presidents didn't actually want the position to begin with, actually kind of forced into the spectrum. And it was sort of a difficult thing to deal with when you have a leader, an institution that, if he doesn't want his own job that's a bit problematic. I also wanted to just mention that you know, the origins of the bank were the Bretton Woods conference was one in which, you know, the development part of the bank wasn't really sort of thought about at any great length.

  • 13:31:37

    CHRISThey kind of came together with the World Bank group and disbanded about, I believe, two days out of, you know, however long the meeting was. And it's kind of just adapted over time ad hoc, taking these new sort of institutions within itself to really kind of -- I mean, they've really dealt with the challenge of, you know, how do you develop countries infrastructures, the institutions?

  • 13:32:05

    CHRISAnd they've really been the first organization to really tackle that problem in a kind of holistic manner. And clearly they've had problems along the way. But I really don't see any of the previous Presidents sort of realizing that, you know, how it began is very different from how it kind of would see itself today and the ways in which it needs to fundamentally change the way it conducts its business to really stay relevant in a world today. You know.

  • 13:32:38

    NNAMDII'll ask both of my panelists to respond to that. First you, Howard Schneider.

  • 13:32:41

    SCHNEIDERWell, I think that, you know, if Obama's opening a door on anything here, it may be to look at, sort of, the different missions that have been kind of grafted onto the bank over the -- I don’t think many people realize that a lot of the money that goes out the door really is on market rate terms to countries that can't afford the borrow on their own. There's a lot of private deal making. The International Finance Corporation does deals to make with private businesses that might not otherwise get done. Now, is this important in the global flow of capital? No, there's a trillion dollars or more a year going into emerging markets from private investors. Is it important that the margins -- well, sure, probably on a case by case basis, it is.

  • 13:33:23

    NNAMDIWell, let me take it on a slightly different direction, Lawrence MacDonald. Because you can't really talk about these institutions in Washington without recalling that they've been targets of popular protests here every year. Ten years ago the World Bank was widely pilloried by a number of protestors who complained that the financial institution was unfairly saddling poor countries with debt, forcing them to adopt stringent policies under, quote-unquote, "structural adjustment." Some say what we're seeing now is an example of the bank actually listening to its critics and changing the way it operates. What do you say?

  • 13:33:57

    MACDONALDI was working in the bank during those years of protests so I remember them very well. I think some of that was warranted. The core idea of structural adjustment, as some of your listeners will know, actually made sense. You can't have large unsustainable budget deficits. But then if you're going to either raise taxes or cut spending, it's a question of how you allocate those cuts or how you allocate the taxes.

  • 13:34:22

    MACDONALDAnd I think that the World Bank and the IMF who is also a target of this, have learned overtime to become much more sensitive to the social implications of making these adjustments. And at the same time, you know, developing countries have learned a lot of these lessons. We don't see runaway inflation anymore. And I think that that's a good thing for poor people in the developing world.

  • 13:34:45

    NNAMDIWant to get back to a point you made earlier, Howard Schneider, emerging economies and some middle and lower middle income countries can raise their own money these days without the help of the bank as they're opting out of the system. It's customer base will consist largely of a larger percentage of low income countries. Will that change the World Banks mission?

  • 13:35:05

    SCHNEIDERWell, I think, you know, maybe. And here's the thing. If you talk to folks from India or are familiar with finances in Brazil and China, basically borrowing from the World Bank has become their way to stay involved in the World Bank. And they, sort of, pay the interest on the loans and that some of that then gets recycled over into the programs for the poorer countries. The U.S. just writes a check out of its treasury for a billion dollars a year or something like that for the concessional lending and grants. China borrows and pays interest on the loans and that's how they get their money into the system. So it's sort of, you know, kind of an implicit trade off there. China borrows, we write a check. It both comes out about the same.

  • 13:35:47

    NNAMDII want to get back to the issue of Dr. Kim's expertise for a second because some people are knocking it because it's in medicine, saying it's a mismatch for what the bank actually does. But when we look at the challenge facing developing nations today, especially those lower income developing nations, public health is a major focal point. What do you think?

  • 13:36:07

    MACDONALDWell, we have a lot of agencies that work on public health. We have the global fund based in Geneva. We have the Presidents emergency program for aides relief here. And global health is one of the great success stories of development. It turns out to be one of those fields where you can actually alleviate a huge amount of suffering and put people on a much better health footing without solving a lot of the other underlying problems that inhibit development.

  • 13:36:31

    MACDONALDTo that extent, I think it may not be a major growth area for the bank. But I want to add one other thing about the role of the leader of the bank. Having sat in at board meetings, it's a fascinating thing to watch. There's perhaps 25 board members around the table. Most of them represent multiple countries. The President very often chairs the board and that person has tremendous persuasive power if he or she knows how to use it because there are very rarely are votes.

  • 13:36:59

    MACDONALDThings are determined, mostly, by consensus and if the President has a clear vision of what he or she wants to achieve and the ability to persuade those executive directors and in turn the countries that they represent, that person has tremendous influence to move the institution forward. And I think that's the core quality whether you are a medical anthropologist or a former finance minister, you're going to need to be successful, have a vision of where you want to go and the great persuasive powers to then move the countries that own the institution in that direction.

  • 13:37:30

    NNAMDIHoward Schneider, does it matter that he is not an economist because he does have experience navigating international bureaucratical organizations?

  • 13:37:40

    SCHNEIDERWell, that's the thing I think that the -- Tim Geithner, this treasurer or the secretary was up on Capitol Hill today talking to the appropriations committee. And this issue came up. And this was one of the things he pointed to as Dr. Kim strength, that he has shown an ability to sort of push large institutions around. The case in point was getting anti-tuberculosis medicine, drug resistant tuberculosis medicine, into very rural areas of Peru. And that required an awful lot of lobbying with the pharmaceutical companies, with the World Health Organization and otherwise. So it's not just that he's a doctor, it's that he's shown some ability to get, sort of, results out of institutions that aren't easy to turn.

  • 13:38:24

    NNAMDILawrence MacDonald, I don't know how much time we have for this. But we got a tweet from MF who says "Can you contrast Dr. Kim's views espoused in his 2000 book 'Dying For Growth' with critiques like those of Naomi Kline who take on issues like disaster capitalism?"

  • 13:38:40

    MACDONALDI have not read "Dying...

  • 13:38:41

    NNAMDIIn 10 words or less.

  • 13:38:42

    MACDONALDI haven't read "Dying For Growth." I have heard Naomi Klein's speak. I'm familiar with her critique. I think that they probably have a fair amount in common. I know that Dr. Kim's book was endorsed by Noam Chomsky who's a hero on the left. And I think Naomi Klein would qualify as a hero on the left as well. So I imagine that they come from a similar base.

  • 13:39:02

    NNAMDIWant to move to a slightly different topic for a second, Howard, because you're the international economics reporter at the Washington Post and you've covered the other major international financial institutions in Washington. The international monetary fund, how does this leadership change compare to that one?

  • 13:39:19

    SCHNEIDERWell, it's actually shaping up, you know, a little bit similar in that when Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned after his arrest in New York. Europe quickly rallied around Christine Legarde. But you had the Mexican Central Bank Governor Agustin Carstens sort of, as I put, sort of crawled out on the limb and offered himself. The limb got sawed off eventually. But people had to at least, you know, take notice of the fact that he was out there and doing the interviews and making his point.

  • 13:39:46

    SCHNEIDERAnd it forced the conversation about the fact that Europe had, without even talking about other nominees, picked somebody. And so you've got, you know, he's going to have to go before the board and at least have a discussion about what he wants to do knowing that there are two other people sitting outside in the waiting room that are gonna have the same discussion.

  • 13:40:06

    NNAMDIOf course, Dominique Strauss-Kahn has entered another legal chapter of his life being arrested in France yesterday for being part of a prostitution operation. That's a story that we'll be looking at in the future. For the time being, we'll be looking to see what happens with President Obama's nomination of Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank. Howard Schneider is a staff reporter with the Washington Post. Howard, thank you for joining us.

  • 13:40:30

    SCHNEIDERThank you.

  • 13:40:31

    NNAMDILawrence MacDonald is vice president for communications and policy outreach with the Center for Global Development. Lawrence MacDonald, thank you so much for joining us.

  • 13:40:38

    MACDONALDIt's my pleasure, Kojo.

  • 13:40:39

    NNAMDIWe're gonna take a short break. When we come back, you can start calling now, 800-433-8850. It is your turn. Did you attend the Reason Rally? Are atheists discriminated against in our society? 800-433-8850. And where do you draw the line between when you do and not interfere with your child's activities as you child's non-academic activities at school? 800-433-8850. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

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