It’s come to light that Barack Obama’s nominee for president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, has some zany ideas about free markets, growth, and “social equity.” If recently found quotes from Kim’s published works are representative, Obama should have redirected his resume to the Human Resource Department of the Central Bank of Cuba.
In 2000, Kim co-edited the subtly titled Dying for Growth: Global Inequality and the Health of the Poor. The Noam Chomsky inspired work seems to make the case that the World Bank is an evil capitalist tool and that economic growth in developing countries . . . kills:
“This book seeks to fill an important gap in knowledge by examining the documentable health effects of economic development policies and strategies promoted by the governments of wealthy countries and by international agencies such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization.”
“The studies in this book present evidence that the quest for growth in GDP and corporate profits has in fact worsened the lives of millions of women and men.”
You know what doesn’t worsen lives, according to Kim and Co? Castronomics:
“Using Cuba as an example, Chapter Thirteen makes the case that when leaders prioritize social equity and the fundamental right of all citizens to health care, even economically strapped governments can achieve improved and more equitable health outcomes.”
The editors quote Chomsky approvingly on the tyrannical brutality of economic growth:
“Today, Chomsky notes, we see widespread ‘efforts to make people feel helpless, as if there is some kind of mysterious economic law that forces things to happen in a particular way, like the law of gravitation.’ Yet belief in such an immutable law is simply ‘nonsense.’ ‘These are all human institutions, they are subject to human will, and they can be eliminated like other tyrannical institutions have been.’”
Perhaps when Obama gets back from fine tuning the details of his second term with his Moscow cabinet, he’ll have a perfectly good explanation for why the only person he could find to head the World Bank was a man who seems interested in realigning it with Havana economic policy. Then again, perhaps Obama is entering into one of those PR nightmare phases of his. A hot-mic moment, a radical World Bank president. Who knows what’s next.