Foreign Affairs: You argue that the World Bank is now trying to do too much all at once, and that one component of World Bank reform will involve "rationalizing today's proliferated development architecture." Are there any specific missions that you think the bank could now devolve to other institutions? In other words, in what activities does the bank have "comparative advantage," for example giving loans after a financial crisis, poverty reduction, education reform, or other tasks?
Jessica Einhorn: You are right to ask this question since the article was consciously written to avoid specific recommendations. My experience in public policy is that, if you describe a problem and then offer the solution, the solution gets most of the attention. Moreover, any single formulation will be subject to easy criticism and dismissal. And then, what happens to the problem? It is also dismissed because the solution wasn't "realistic," or whatever. The purpose of my article is to get people to agree there is a big problem in implementing the development vision today. I have said that the World Bank has a comparative advantage in economics as its professional discipline, and in dealing with governments as clients and shareholders. Headquartered in Washington, even with field offices expanding, the bank should focus on the biggest economic policy problems impeding a country's development efforts, and help establish the institutions that work to promote market-friendly solutions, while keeping an eye on the compatibility of the individual projects with the emerging liberal international system and concerns for global commons. As I write this, I see it is a "mouthful." I think government representatives need to exchange views on where they think the World Bank has the greatest contribution to make and where they think the bank could easily off-load lending programs; the article has illustrative suggestions.
FA: Although you say that it is now time for the World Bank to focus on internal management, you do praise James Wolfensohn's "comprehensive" vision and his "dream of a world
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