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I was deeply puzzled -- saddened -- when the WB started doing Structural Adjustment Loans, which struck me as an appropriate function for the IMF or the Club of Rome or other institutions. The WB had neither the capitalization nor the orientation to such "macro" programs. Nitty-gritty project planning and implementation, things like roads and water, were really useful in some countries where an outside monitor (if not outside expertise) helped see things got built and built well. Sure, under Marcos the Philippines could plan and build roads. But corruption meant that even that in front of his family home was done poorly. Then there's country focus: should the WB be so involved in China? Third, a point (I think) you make, strengthening local development institutions. Back in my banking days in the late 1970s, the Brazilian national development bank was already bigger than the World Bank. At that point however the WB still had a wealth of human capital even if it couldn't do much for Brasil in terms of its financial capital. But the WB can still attract young and really bright economists and technicians from the developing world -- and that's a big pool. I met an example last month. The key question: will the Bank put them to good use?
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Jul 2, 2012