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The World Bank and the Gods of Lending Paperback – June, 2008
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"Compelling and refreshingly direct. What World Bank officials typically refer to as "leakage," Berkman names theft, embezzlement, and corruption. Highly recommended for general readers; students at all levels; researchers and professionals."
"Recommended reading as a hard-hitting lesson on how not to run the Bank."
“Everyone interested in economic development and the alleviation of poverty in the Third World should study the cases that Berkman sets out—clearly documents the failure of the World Bank to operate honestly, efficiently and openly. Unfortunately we may extrapolate these cases to all the other international financial institutions as well.
“World Bank documents versus reality are a real shocker. Berkman’s work shows the difference between what is reported and what is actually happening on the ground.”
“A long awaited expose of gross mismanagement and cover-ups…demands a fundamental overhaul of the Bank’s management and proposes realistic measures to curb corruption in its lending program.”
“Exposing the curse of ‘lending targets’ and the disappearance of billions of dollars, Berkman points to the Bank’s bureaucratic mismanagement and lack of courage by aid donors as they shamelessly foster a lending culture that enriches corrupt government elites while keeping the poor mired in poverty.”
“A timely and important contribution to policy makers and scholars concerned about the impact of corruption upon economic development.”
"As a World Bank task manager, Berkman spent years in the trenches fighting to prevent the theft of Bank loans by corrupt officials in developing countries. As he demonstrates, it was a battle the Bank had no interest in pursuing despite its claims that it takes corruption seriously and that outsiders and critics don't know the real story. Now with this book we have a critical perspective only an insider can provide. It is a passionate, informed, and devastating first-hand account from the frontlines of World Bank operations. Students, development professionals, and especially policymakers in Washington should read this book."
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Top Customer Reviews
Other sections of the book take on the Bank's overreliance on economists and economics as a means of making sense of the complex process of "development," its highly bureaucratic nature, as well as the Bank's limited and rather grudging acceptance under President James Wolfensohn that corruption is an enormous obstacle to development. These are worthwhile insights but receive only limited attention, which is unfortunate.
The book does not provide enough background on the history, structure and mission of the World Bank. It badly needed an initial chapter that put his accusations in some context. If you aren't already familiar with the differences between the two main arms of the Bank, the IBRD and IDA, for example, you'll need to do some background research. Also, Berkman makes very broad claims about the extent of corruption influencing the Bank and its loans, but his examples are from Africa. That weakens his case. A consistent theme in the book is his irritation that as a non-economist he was relatively powerless in the Bank's economist-dominated power structure.Read more ›
The World Bank management is aware of what is happening, but looks the other way. Or more to the point, it engages in a game of smoke and mirrors to hide the fact that it continues to go about its main business - pushing money out the door even to the most corrupt governments.
The Gods of Lending elaborates some side issues which are at times interesting, at times rather lengthy. Yet Berkman's analysis and illustration of how to steal millions from the World Bank are essential reading for anybody interested in the political economy of international financial institutions and development aid.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you plan on reading this and Confessions of an Economic Hitman, read this one first.The author rails in seeming disbelief over primarily, the corruption of African govenments... Read morePublished on February 28, 2012 by lakeqi
Using his personal experiences, the author Steve Berkman, gives us an insider's view of the World Bank. Read morePublished on February 28, 2009 by Lance B. Hillsinger