Courtesy Reuters

The World Bank at Work

ANYONE who reads the newspapers will agree that the mid-century is a time of turmoil. Whether it can become an era of increasing stability in international affairs depends, in part, on the measures taken to strengthen the Atlantic Community. It also depends on what advances can be achieved in other areas which are still free from Soviet Communist domination but are not yet the full beneficiaries of twentieth century progress. The free world will not remain free if the hunger of millions of human beings for progress is neglected. Instead, it will go on being vulnerable to encroachments from without and to disputes within. A stable world cannot be built out of populations engaged in a tooth-and-nail struggle for a poor subsistence.

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development has been at work throughout the free world making loans to increase production and raise living standards. At the end of January 1952 it had helped finance productive projects on six continents, in 25 of the Bank's member nations. It arrived on the European scene in advance of the Marshall Plan, with half a billion dollars of investment to help in the postwar reconstruction of Western Europe. Since then, the Bank has turned its attention increasingly to less highly developed countries, which are now its main field of operations.

Capital has been provided by the Bank for a wide variety of undertakings. These include, among other things, industrial enterprises (chiefly in Europe), electric power production and distribution (chiefly in Latin America), farm improvement and mechanization, flood control and irrigation, railways, highways, shipping and port development. Loans total $1,265,000,000. For the most part, they have been made in United States dollars. But British pounds, Canadian dollars, French francs and other currencies of the member states have also been loaned, and some Swiss francs as well. When account is taken of sums spent or committed by borrowers and other investors, the total cost of projects completed or going forward with the help of the Bank comes to

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