Salon is one of a number of outlets that has discussed the imminent departure of James Wolfensohn from his position as President of the World Bank. I had often wondered why the Bank always had USian presidents, but the article explains that:
The United States is the bank’s largest shareholder. The bank traditionally has had an American president. Its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, traditionally has been headed by a European.
In our heavily weighted international finance system it’s not much of a surprise that the two traditional power blocs should divide these key roles between themselves, though it will be interesting to see how long Japan and various emerging economic powers will allow that to continue.
Sadly, the status quo is unlikely to change before the succession is announced, so I’ve been wondering who I’d choose were someone to be foolish enough to give me a say in the process. Right now, the leading contendor for my hypothetical vote would have to be Professor Jeffrey Sachs. A special economic advisor to Kofi Annan, noted academic, and passionate advocate of creative solutions to poverty reduction and disease control, he seems just the man for the job.