Reading Martin Wolf’s “Incensed about Inequality” provides an excellent glimpse at what I see as the World Bank’s biggest problem: it is all about the numbers. The entire excerpt of Wolf’s article hones in on all different indicators of how poverty and inequality have, on a global scale, decreased since the 1975-1980 period. Wolf tries to connect his positive numbers – numbers that Robert Wade disputes in the next article – to the inclusion of a developing country in the global economy. But this appears to be the main problem with the World Bank’s role in the developing world – it is willing to wreck the lives of many, especially less-developed peoples living in rural areas, in order to create a project that will lead to “sustainable” economic growth in a more urban region.
Our case study next week will focus on one of these projects in particular: the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, an effort that displaced an estimated 80,000 people in the small African nation of Lesotho. We will show clips from the documentary “Flow” that highlights the role of multinational companies and organizations in their exploitation of water resources for commerce. If any of you have the chance to watch the entire film, I highly recommend it.
Link to the film page here.