Sunday, 1 April 2012

Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn

Immortal words from an immortal movie. If you don't know where this quotation is from, click here (excusable because this was before you were born)

I am however writing about more prosaic things. Like the American nomination of Jim Yong Kim for the Presidency of the World Bank. Readers of this blog may recall that I had railed about the practice of nominating an American for the head of the World Bank and an European for the Head of the IMF here. The IMF vacancy came rather suddenly after the antics of Dominique Strauss Kahn. After some pious sermonising about how it wasn't an European stitch up, the post went to Christine Lagarde, another French person !

Now there is a vacancy coming at the top of the World Bank as Robert Zoellick is completing his term. The Americans are now wanting to stitch this up. But its the American they have nominated which is raising eyebrows. Kim who ??

Jim Yong Kim is an eminent American, no doubt. But he is an anthropologist and physician by profession. He is currently the President of Dartmouth College and was the former director of the HIV/AIDS section of the World Health Organisation. He is a highly respected figure in his circles. But he is not a banker. So what's an anthropologist going to do as head of the World Bank.

Convoluted justifications are being given. Apparently it would be good to have a "development expert" as head of the World Bank. Balderdash. Its simply America trying to make it more palatable to have their nominee as the boss. Kim is Korean by descent and is not a white man. They can even pass him as an "Asian". Its just an effective fudge to continue the tradition of stitching up. Or else a more interesting logic might have been in the mind - Bankers are too dangerous to be allowed to run the World Bank (I can begin to have sympathy for such a thought !)

There is some muted opposition to this. A Nigerian and a Colombian are standing against him, but are unlikely to have much of a chance. But the more interesting development is that nobody seems to care. Deafening silence from the chief lender to the world - China. I don't know how to say it in Chinese, but I can almost hear Hu Jintao saying "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" !


sriram khe said...

I wish Indira Nooyi had been nominated instead ... news reports had indicated that she, too, was a candidate. As one who grew up in India, with its huge population that struggles for "development," and as a woman, Nooyi would have been a choice that, for all purposes, would have been a slam dunk too ... Oh well, if only the world listened to me :)

That said, I would rather see us begin to downsize the World Bank and UN and ... in the contemporary world of various philanthropic foundations and micro-credit organizations, among other things, these institutions are bloody archaic and bureaucratic. The WB and the UN have their own versions of quite a few pen-pushing Ramamrithams, and publicity-loving egotistical Tharoors :)

Appu said...

Sunday and a Biz post? Is it because of the April 1 ;)

Appu said...

Din't know you were born that earlier ;) An real interesting quote that would be of much use to people like me :P :D

Ramesh said...

@Sriram - Honoured to have you as a commenter. The most logical candidate was Larry Summers; but then they couldn't take the risk of another MCP after Dominic Strauss Kahn. Yes, thre is certainly a case for downsizing some of the post World War II relics.

@Zeno1- Every day is a Sunday for me these days !!!

@Zeno2 - Yeah I am ancient - if I was born then, I must be at least 73 :) For that age ain't I incredibly young and handsome :):)

Asha said...

All news to me, thanks to business musings.

Shachi said...

I'm not that old but I've watched the movie :). And as Asha said, rest of the stuff is news to me, thanks to u :)!

TMM said...

oops! my mistake. I thot you were writing about Kim Jong Il and then re-read your post and figured outit is Jim Yong Kim! We will have world peace on the day the yanks nominate Kim Jong Il to this position!

Ramesh said...

@Asha - Very kind

@Shachi - You are, of course, a strapping young lassie young enough to be Vivien Leigh's great great great great granddaughter :):)

@TMM - What a thought. Thankfully the Dear Leader is departed and therefore even the theoretical possibility does not exist.

Hema said...

Ahh..But how could they do this?
Truly, justice and logic have gone with the wind!!

Sandhya Sriram said...

since it was a sunday post and you have for some reason made it a business post, i have decided to bring a sunday flavour to it. i am taking the liberty to nominate some of your readers to certain key international positions(with a disclaimer that all content here is purely for fun)

Start with the Head of the world bank - GILs - with his absolute sense of making sense out of everything, he can possibly put an end to a lot of non sense happening all over

The IMF - well deepa - only for Gender diversity and of course, the ace accountant she is, maybe the world will be a better place to live

The ICC - Ravi Rajagopal - Of course for his knowledge but more so because, when he could make people in the slums of india understand cards, he can make the world understand cricket better and not just follow it for entertainment.

The President of China - Kiwi - because what china needs now is to think out of the box and kiwi is someone who never ever had a box even to start with.

The last and always the best - The President of United States of A - the one and the only one - Mr. K Ramesh - and do i need to explain why :-)

Ramesh said...

@Hema - Only a poet can comment like this. Love to read your lines.

@Sandhya - You are at your mischeivous best :):)

venkat said...

Sandhya madam, room pottu yosipingaloo! Comment elutha:) fan following for your comment growing as equal to the blog. Now ramesh needs to think ways to overtake.

Ramesh said...

@Venkat - Sandhya "madam" (she's actually a strapping young girl !) is very special - totally agree that her comments are better than this blog. She's a blogger too ; writes in, but juggling the million roles she carries out, does not give her enough time for blogging.

venkat said...

oh Business Musing is absolutely fantastic and has its own standard and wit. I mean the intellectual competeness between blogger & that wise witty commenter is joy reading.

Vishal said...

Totally news to me also - barely manage to know what is happening around within the country. Thanks to Business Musings - get to know what is happening around the world also.

@ Sandhya - may I dare to nominate you for the position of Secretary general of UN simply for providing incisive comments on varied complex subjects? I hope that the president of US of A would be equally willing for it! ;)

Ramesh said...

@Vishal - Touche. The repartee to Sandhya "madam" is perfect :)

Venkat said...

please add 'on previous comment' before the word I mean (just for right interpretation).
Appuram sandhya akkava madam sona ore smile panrenga, ungala sir-nu sollama vitta kushiya!? :)

Sandhya Sriram said...

didnt come back to this blog till now and didnt expect i got so famous.

well, venkat tambi (only because you have called me akka) - I dont think Ramesh fears being called sir. maybe, after Sandhya Akka, he was expecting a Ramesh Uncle and maybe he is thankful that you let him be ;-)

Hey Vishal - i am with you on the general secretary to the UN Bit.

The secretaries to the UN have been so far

Javier Perez De Cuellar (Peru), Boutros Boutros Ghali (Egypt), Kofi A Annan (Ghana) and now Mr.Ban ki Moon (South Korea).

Countries whose population, power, influence, significance, economic strength and whatsover are the criterias by which you judge the strength of a nation are far miniscule and the only reason that these people got nominated is because the US of A and their saner partners like yourself thought it is important to encourage smaller and lower mortals.

Ramesh said...

@Sandhya and Venkat - :):)

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