If you need convincing about what's at stake, read Nancy Birdsall of the Center for Global Development. The World Bank's chief has enormous power within the institution, and the Bank needs to follow a substantially new course in future. The returns to choosing the right person to lead it would therefore be huge.
Should it be an another American? Not in my view. The indefensible pact which gives this job to the US and the IMF job to Europe should be abrogated, and should be seen to be abrogated. If not now, when? If not by Obama, by whom? This requires a non-American to get the post. In a separate post, Birdsall disagrees. She thinks what matters is that the open, merit-based competitive process that's already supposed to be in place should be allowed to work. Then, if an American is chosen, fine. "Should an American end up as president, he or she would benefit tremendously from the legitimacy that only an open selection process can bestow." No doubt. But in that case how do you convince people that the process is what it claims to be?
I'm willing to bet that neither of us will get our way.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.