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World Bank Nominee Kim Under Fire for “Dying for Growth” Book

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The US nominee to lead the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, has come under attack for editing a book called “Dying for Growth.” It apparently performs the cardinal sins of questioning whether a relentless pursuit of growth produces necessarily produces good outcomes and taking issue with neoliberalism. From the Financial Times:

Some economists are arguing that Dying for Growth, jointly edited by Dr Kim and published in 2000, puts too great a focus on health policy over broader economic growth.

“Dr Kim would be the first World Bank president ever who seems to be anti-growth,” said William Easterly, professor of economics at New York University. “Even the severest of World Bank critics like me think that economic growth is what we want.”

Dr Kim, who is president of Dartmouth College and a former head of the HIV/Aids programme at the World Health Organisation, was a surprise pick for the top job at the World Bank, which traditionally goes to a US citizen.

Little is known about his views on economic policy because his background is in health. But if he cannot set out a strong vision for how the World Bank will fuel growth, it may boost the campaigns of heavyweight rivals such as Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigerian finance minister and former World Bank managing director.

Dr Kim’s book contains several inflammatory lines. For example, the introduction, which he and two other academics co-authored, says: “The studies in this book present evidence that the quest for growth in GDP and corporate profits has in fact worsened the lives of millions of women and men.”

But colleagues of Dr Kim and officials at the US Treasury said that when taken in context he was simply arguing that the distribution of gains from economic growth decides whether it makes life better for the poorest. They pointed out that such criticisms were widespread in the late 1990s and the World Bank had since changed its practices to take account of them.

It isn’t hard to see how self serving these attacks are. Notice who is making them: economists! When I was at the Atlantic Summit the week before last, Larry Summers made a remarkably transparent “why you need economists” pitch: all the problems the US was facing (big military commitments, need for more healthcare spending, perceived need to reduce the deficit as a percent of GDP) could all be solved with one magic bullet: growth!

Summers failed to acknowledge two inconvenient facts. First is that the world is running into serious resource constraints, with potable water the most pressing. Second is that economists haven’t done so well with their prescriptions. Advanced and quite a few developing economies have been redesigned along the lines recommended by orthodox economists, and the result has been greater income disparity, lower growth in the US as it abandoned giving wage growth policy priority, and more frequent and severe financial crises. In keeping, France is funding an effort led by Joe Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, and Jean-Paul Fitoussi to come up with a better measure of economic performance than GDP, since it focuses simply on output and misses other important considerations, such as social stability and environmental impact.

But Kim may indeed have demonstrated himself to be unsuited for a top bureaucratic post. Saying the emperor has no clothes will not make you popular with the emperor’s tailors.

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83 comments

  1. F. Beard

    The US seems to have enough of everything EXCEPT money in the right hands.

    So let’s let houses, infrastructure and skills rot because of that absurd lack?

    1. wunsacon

      It’s insane. With some programs we try to shelter the masses and with other programs we throw them out on the street. It’s as ridiculous as the pattern observed by Warren Buffett about people digging gold out of the ground just to put it back into another one. (Gold bugs — the accidental Keynesians.)

    2. paul

      “The US seems to have enough of everything EXCEPT money in the right hands.”

      The Truth +1

    3. US Citizen

      Is it me, or did the FT muff it up by saying Dr. Kim is not a citizen when he actually is one? I guess ‘real’ Americans can only be of a certain race…

      1. addicted

        I think you misunderstood the statement. Kim was picked as a NOMINEE for the “top job at the world bank”. Usually, the “top job” goes to an American citizen, which makes Kim more likely to get this, being an American citizen (and hence, the American pick).

  2. Abram Larson

    Let me try to paraphrase Professor Easterly, “I don’t like the World Bank, but it should support growth, even if the cost is human lives.”

    Also, in what warped world is this considered an inflammatory statement. “The studies in this book present evidence that the quest for growth in GDP and corporate profits has in fact worsened the lives of millions of women and men.”

    Truly, the emperor has no clothes.

    1. wunsacon

      Cognitive dissonance on so grand a scale might fracture the planet, spinning one half out into deep space and another hurtling towards the sun. It’s like Rod Serling’s “The Midnight Sun” but twice as bad! ;-)

    2. Mike G

      Because it’s about power, not truth. Corporate profits are sacrosanct and must never be questioned. There’s a braying army of corporate-lickspittles on the right ready to punish anyone who dares.

      1. jake chase

        If Dr Kim is smart he will take the first available opportunity to refuse this appointment. Somebody should give him one of Naomi Klein’s books to educate him on what the World Bank really does. He could do more good performing circumcisions.

  3. Gregg Gonsalves

    I am in an airport and was drinking a cup of coffee, read this and did a spit-take all over my computer.
    This is a brilliant analysis of Lant Pritchett, Bill Easterly and other econ honchos’ reaction to Jim Kim’s nomination.
    They are in full Linda-Blair-in-The-Exorcist mode over this one.
    Putting someone with a critical view of development economics at the Bank instead of an insider and product of Harvard’s Econ department? Quelle scandale!
    Jim is a smart guy, driven by evidence, open to new ideas, and bases decisions on how they affect real people. A bit too scary for those who like their institutions stale and crusty.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We would like a nurturing woman to lead the World Bank, but by questioning relentless growth, he strikes us as one possessing abundant feminine/yin energy, which is actually better than a merely anatomically correct yin-human.

      Let’s see if he is against US-Korea Free Trade pact.

      1. K Ackermann

        Hey hey! You shouldn’t say stuff like that. I’m just glad they finally found an Asian smart enough to lead an Ivy league school. That search must have taken forever! You know those Asians… narrow-minded and biased.

    2. LifelongLib

      This reminds me of a study I saw several years ago (maybe the same one?) that showed countries which prioritize education and health care have higher literacy rates and life expectancies than countries with higher per-capita incomes that don’t. It blew the bottom out of the more-money-is-always-better argument.

      1. readerOfTeaLeaves

        Yes, this info has been collected into a book that Yves has highlighted numerous times. The title is “The Spirit Level”, and it is available as a book, eBook, and Audiobook.

    3. Gerald Muller

      Small detail: scandale in French is masculine. It therefore should read “Quel scandale”

  4. readerOfTeaLeaves

    But Kim may indeed have demonstrated himself to be unsuited for a top bureaucratic post. Saying the emperor has no clothes will not make you popular with the emperor’s tailors.

    With all due respect, Yves, this is precisely the quality we need moving forward; all the more valuable for being so rare.

    Sorry to see the FT acting like sockpuppets for outdated foolishness circa 1985. Sad, really. (Makes me peevish that I subscribe to such silliness.)

    Anyone interested in good presentations of why resource stresses are not adequately reflected in current pricing systems and economic theory can find some great things at INET. Here is Canadian Prof William Rees in an INET interview:
    http://ineteconomics.org/video/interview/william-rees-dangerous-disconnect-between-economics-and-ecology

    1. K Ackermann

      I’m not disagreeing at all with you,but ecological economics sounds like a non-starter. After all, it could come to the conclusion that we must kill people.

      Whenever something gets scarce, great effort is expended to find alternatives. We no longer move when game is over hunted – we farm.

      Energy is a big problem, but it’s a problem with a fairly long horizon. It won’t be like Mad Max. Something will adjust. Either we find enough energy, or population will decrease, but probably not through cannibalism.

      Here’s a guy who powered a web server with a couple of potatoes. http://d116.com/spud/

      1. Fiver

        That is quite simply wrong. There is an enormous amount of solid work on this, and we are in very serious trouble re climate, oceans, forests, soils, species, all of it. We will be exceptionally lucky to get to mid-century without a human population crash, with who knows how much of the biosphere ultimately ruined in the process.

    2. Dan B

      Think of Mother Nature as a hedge fund who is short growth. There is no risk in this position because we are at the end of growth and deep into a sustainability crisis. Water, oil, fish, and so forth are all constraining economic growth. Not to denude the importance of water, but peak oil underlies the financial and economic dimensions of our predicament. Consider: North Dakota has 6,600 shale oil wells producing approx, 500,000 barrels a day. That’s a paltry 85.5 barrels per well. This is an answer to peak oil? And the net energy return is abysmal; same with tar sands, and shale gas (to ignore their environmental damage). There are three ways to reduce energy consumption: efficiency, conservation and reductions in social and technological complexity (economic contraction). Complexity reduction is like the policy third rail, no politician will touch it. But it’s what’s unfolding with libraries closing, police, teachers, etc. laid off, unemployment, and so on and so on. The economy is contracting due to net energy decline and Summers et al are purveying “Bad Knowledge” that implies, “this is a dark shadow on an otherwise bright picture. Not to fear, when their policy levers are pulled in the correct order grwoth will resume. Don’t worry about peak oil, we’ll just wring more growth out of efficiency.”

  5. Stunted and Still Alive

    I would say it’s a big warning sign when government wants “growth” (in GDP) more than anyone else.

    A CA friend just told me his CPA has a Chinese $$$ buddy whom the CPA helped find a $3 million second house in Irvine, CA and picked up a Bentley for the garage too.

    That’s got to help somehow. My friend and I are quite pleased.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We need economic policies that would foster people reinvesting their profits back into their own communities/countries.

  6. Michael

    Bill Easterly is well known in Development circles for having entered the “Old Man Yells At Cloud” stage of his life.

    1. K Ackermann

      And we know what comes next: old man standing on lawn with bathrobe opened, shaking angry fist at passing cars.

  7. ScottS

    Question: is this the back door that will get Larry Summers the job? I.e., Obama proposes a “good” guy, he gets shouted down, then he nominates Larry to make the angry shouty people happy.

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      You are referring to the same Larry Summers who gave a green light to the Commodities Futures Modernization Act, the little item that rolled back Glass-Steagall? The Larry Summers who advised Obama during the early days of his administration, in the period in which he failed to eviscerate the Big Banks? The Larry Summers whose previous advice has created no end of political wobbles for Obama?

      Obama’s the first G-20 President.
      Some people evidently still can’t get their heads around the implications of what that might mean. For starters, it might mean that in a G-20 world, Kim’s qualifications are better suited than Summers’.

      1. ScottS

        I didn’t mean to (and don’t think I did) imply that Larry “Aren’t Poor Countries Under-Polluted” Summers should get the job overseeing developing countries’ economies.

      2. Mark P.

        ‘…in a G-20 world, Kim’s qualifications are better suited than Summers’.

        In any word, almost anybody’s qualifications are better than Summers’s.

        Besides being a failure of world-historical proportions, he should be in jail or, at least, barred permanently from any position of responsibility.

    2. Aquifer

      I suspect you are right – this appointment is so totally out of sync with the rest of Obama’s MO that, unless he has had a Saul knocked off his horse by lightening moment, there is something missing from this picture. Waiting for the other shoe to drop ….

    3. Doug Terpstra

      It is so totally out of character for Obama, I briefly wondered the same thing … very briefly. Of course this is another of O’s full-on, mind-fracking head fakes, as you suspect. It’s Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown again (when will the poor guy learn?). It’s the public option; it’s Warren to head the CFPB; it’s renegotiating NAFTA; closing GITMO; negotiating with Iran; confronting Wall Street fat cats; blocking the keystone pipeline, and deepwater drilling, etc., etc. It’s the mendacity of nope we’ve all come to expect. It almost makes you wonder if maybe there’s an election coming up.

      “An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry. (T.S. Eliot)

      As Obama told Medvedev, “This is my last election, after my election I have more flexibility.” Flexibility to do what I wonder:

      Install Summers or Phil “mental recession” Gramm as head of the World Bank?
      Turn Social Security into a derivatives market?
      Declare war on Syria and Iran in one nukular swell foop?
      Nominate Cheney as Secretary of Peace?

      1. K Ackermann

        LMAO.

        Did you mention the 50-state settlement? You know… the big punishment for the banks. He knew just who to appoint to get that moving forward. It only took days.

      2. ScottS

        Nice metaphor! Is there anyone artistic who wants to draw that political cartoon with Obama as Lucy with the football and the rest of us chumps as Charlie brown?

  8. Phil Kozel

    Growth without considerations of distribution is complete BS, although not for neoclassical economics, which sees things through a distorted “parato efficiency” lens. Society from this perspective is better off if the top 1% receive all the gains as at least they are ‘better off’ and others not worse off. I was actually pleasantly surprised that Obama choose Kim; infinitely better than Larry!

    We have social and political problems today, not economic ones per se. The US is the wealthiest nation, but that wealth is grossly concentrated. More growth will not solve the problem…

  9. Stallworth

    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”
    A. Bartlett

    1. colinc

      + f(x)=e^x :)

      But, but, but… the bottle is only 1/2 full!!! Plenty of room to “grow.” /snark-off. Color me “odd” but Diff. Eq. was my absolute favorite course!! Way too many are also quite unfamiliar with Newton’s Laws of Heating and Cooling.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    all the problems the US was facing (big military commitments, need for more healthcare spending, perceived need to reduce the deficit as a percent of GDP) could all be solved with one magic bullet: growth! — Summers

    ——

    How did we get here today from the 19th century or any point in the past? Why, growth of course.

    But with that growth, come its concomitant problems…and we have a lot of problems, I don’t need to tell you that.

    So, we need growth to cure the problems caused by growth???

    Am I insane to think that is insane? Where can I look up the definition of insanity?

    The same with technology. We need more technology to cure the problems caused by technology? How do you define insanity again?

    1. Lidia

      We can desire growth (resource extraction and waste), or even impose growth (resource extraction and waste) wholly against our better interests, as we do with an interest-based monetary system.

      But growth will not happen if Nature does not agree.

  11. Crazy Horse

    So Oreobama nominated somebody who might possibly not have his head completely buried in the sand? A perfect opportunity to retract the nomination and select someone properly vetted by Goldman and thereby keep his record of folding at the slightest hint of Repugnut displeasure intact.

  12. Crazy Horse

    Ask any selection of businessmen, politicians, or economics professors to select a preferred rate of growth for the economy from a range of alternatives and they will tend to choose 3%. At that rate of growth each human will have only one square meter of the earth’s surface in less than 400 years.

    Are humans really smarter than yeast?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder if the solution is not for humans to grow exponentially smaller – something like 3% shorter and lighter per year.

      All you freaking Genetic Modifiers, get your genetic engineers to work on that now!

      1. Lidia

        There was a pretty good article in a recent Harper’s about fasting.

        If everyone fasted one week out of four, 25% extra capacity right there!

        Too bad that would only buy us a few years at best. And then you would hit a new limit.

        The heinous thing is that somehow -between 1970 and the present— voluntary zero or negative population growth became taboo.

        1. Nalu Girl

          Ever since I was in high school and did a research paper on the effects of overpopulation, the more I have learned about it, the more my decison not to have children seems like the right one. I made this decision in the late ’60s, which squares with your timeframe. Another word for unfettered growth is cancer!

      2. F. Beard

        1) Our brains would eventually become less intelligent.

        2) The rest of nature would have to shrink too so that animal predation on humans would not become a problem.

        3) The only real resource limitation Earth has is living space.

        4) Prosperity is an ethical form of birth control.

        Our problem is the usury for counterfeit money cartel, not overpopulation or lack of resources.

        1. Skippy

          Back it up with facts or do you make unsubstantiated – grandiose statements with out providing material evidence.

          Hint… potable water is as of NOW, is a major concern across the globe. Got that? You know the stuff all living things need and to top it all off, its all getting the roundup treatment.

          Research teams with the USGS investigated water supplies near where large amounts of genetically modified soy, corn and cotton are grown. The findings revealed that use of Roundup, or similar glyphosate based pesticides, had increased in the area more than eight times to nearly 90,000 tons between 1992 and 2007, despite claims by the biotech industry that use of pest-resistant genetically modified seeds would decrease the need for external pesticide applications. Further, Monsanto, the dominant manufacturer of genetically modified seeds and companion pesticide, Roundup, has long insisted that the glyphosate will not leach into waterways due to its ability to bind instead to soil particles.

          Three locations tested for glyphosate in air and rain in Mississippi, Iowa and Indiana showed notable traces in more than half of all samples, as well as in surface waters with concentrations at levels that would not be permitted to enter the public water supply, according to a statement from GMFreeze.org. The EPA’s drinking water Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for glyphosate is 700 micrograms per liter.

          Glyphosate (tradenames besides Roundup include Touchdown and Rodeo) is an odorless organic solid white crystal used on food and non-food crops. It is the best-selling pesticide in the world, used in more than 90 countries, tripling in use since 1997 along with the increase in genetically modified crops.

          Earlier this year, the SEC began an investigation of Monsanto, specifically of its Roundup incentive program aimed at securing sales that had slipped to less expensive competing products. The pesticide has also recently been linked to soil damage, resilient “superweeds,” declining butterfly populations and rootworms that have become resistant to glyphosate.

          http://www.organicauthority.com/blog/organic/monsanto%E2%80%99s-roundup-pesticide-in-drinking-water/

          Potential Health Hazards of Glyphosate

          Usually, whatever toxins lurk in the environment has a tendency to find its way into animals’ bellies and onto your dinner plate, and this holds true for glyphosate as well. Some of the fungi promoted by glyphosate produce dangerous toxins that can end up in the food supply. Some of these have been linked to human toxicosis in Eastern Europe, esophageal cancer in southern Africa and parts of China, joint diseases in Asia and southern Africa, and a blood disorder in Russia.

          Additionally:

          Glyphosate is suspected of causing genetic damage, infertility and cancer.
          It is also acutely toxic to fish and birds and can kill beneficial insects and soil organisms that maintain ecological balance.
          Laboratory studies have identified adverse effects of glyphosate-containing products in all standard categories of toxicological testing. In one animal study, rats given 1,000 mg/kg of glyphosate resulted in a 50 percent mortality rate, and skeletal alterations were observed in over 57 percent of fetuses!
          The surfactant ingredient in Roundup is more acutely toxic than glyphosate itself, and the combination of the two is even more toxic.

          A recent report from Earth Open Source has also revealed that Roundup herbicide not only causes birth defects, but that industry regulators have known this for years and did nothing about it. After reviewing industry studies and regulatory documents used to approve Roundup, they noted:

          Industry (including Monsanto) has known since the 1980s that glyphosate causes malformations in experimental animals at high doses
          Industry has known since 1993 that these effects could also occur at lower and mid doses
          The German government has known since at least 1998 that glyphosate causes malformations
          The EU Commission’s expert scientific review panel knew in 1999 — and the EU Commission has known since 2002 – that glyphosate causes malformations

          http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/08/05/how-did-weedkiller-wind-up-in-most-us-rain-samples.aspx

          Franklin Delano Roosevelt also voiced similar concerns, warning:

          “The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself.”

          Based on an ever-increasing body of scientific evidence showing glyphosate biodegrades slowly, sinks down through the topsoil where it accumulates in the groundwater (source for natural drinking water, e.g. aquifers, springs), and is found in nearly all air and rain samples tested in the US, it is safe to say that Monsanto’s best-selling Roundup is one of the greatest threats to human and environmental health ever created.

          As the USDA continues to sit back and allow Monsanto to threaten the environmental stability of the planet, it becomes more apparent that the USDA and Monsanto are gladly willing to exchange the future of the planet and its inhabitants for short term gain. In fact, the USDA has even given Monsanto’s latest GMO crops speedier approval in order to secure the company’s profits, ignoring the numerous known harmful effects of Monsanto’s past creations

          Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/035221_Roundup_soil_health_food_supply.html#ixzz1qK0GlmtW

          Skippy… oh yeah… you do. The occult has that effect on ones cognitive processes. Facts beard… try using facts more often. Ethical[????] money supply will fix every thing…. shezzzzzz. Have fun counting your coupons as everything increasingly goes to shite.

          1. F. Beard

            potable water is as of NOW, is a major concern across the globe. Got that? skippy

            Ever seen an ocean? Ever heard of desalination?

            Our problems are solvable assuming we don’t destroy ourselves with our current money system.

          2. skippy

            Please show some facts, do you know anything about desalination, like the massive amount of energy employed?

            Ethics, which stripe do you mean, Deontology, Utilitarianism, Casuist, others or is it a self evident thingy, too you?

            Skippy… go look at a satellite map of the Colorado river, whence it leaves the USA, it is no more… sucked dry. This is today, what happens tomorrow.

          3. F. Beard

            do you know anything about desalination, like the massive amount of energy employed? skippy

            Yes, it takes energy but:

            1) Technology is reducing the amount of energy required.
            2) Technology is reducing the amount of water wasted.
            3) The Earth has a large amount of untapped potential energy in the form of fissionable materials and an unlimited amount when fusion becomes practical.
            4) There are “natural” forms of potential energy too such as the ocean thermal gradient that can be used for desalinations. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_thermal_energy_conversion if interested.

          4. skippy

            More gross generalizations about tomorrow, yet the problems are here now.

            http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/?id=ww_current

            http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/?id=ww_past

            Early heat in the east too boot… ummm.

            http://water.usgs.gov/watuse/

            2014 is a long way, away.

            Water and sewage bills at twice the CPI-U per year.

            2009/2010 50 largest citys Water/Waste water rate survey

            http://www.bv.com/Downloads/Resources/Brochures/rsrc_EMS_Top50RateSurvey.pdf

            Skippy… it takes years to plan, let alone allocate resources. Here go learn some facts…

            The relation between consumption and water use

            “The interest in the water footprint is rooted in the recognition that human impacts on freshwater systems can ultimately be linked to human consumption, and that issues like water shortages and pollution can be better understood and addressed by considering production and supply chains as a whole,” says Professor Arjen Y. Hoekstra, creator of the water footprint concept and scientific director of the Water Footprint Network. “Water problems are often closely tied to the structure of the global economy. Many countries have significantly externalised their water footprint, importing water-intensive goods from elsewhere. This puts pressure on the water resources in the exporting regions, where too often mechanisms for wise water governance and conservation are lacking. Not only governments, but also consumers, businesses and civil society communities can play a role in achieving a better management of water resources.”

            http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=files/home

          5. F. Beard

            yet the problems are here now. Skippy

            No doubt we need some Divine forbearance but the question is why should He when even the faith of a mustard seed is scarce?

            I suggest we rule out mass murder and other gross attempts to limit population such as involuntary sterilization and repent of our money system which is based on usury and counterfeiting. The Lord is reluctant to judge so I think our prospects are good if we do.

          6. skippy

            You actually took the time to post that comment… faith and seeds.

            Camps, sterilization, murder, usury, counterfeiting? Please desist with the biblical bed time story’s, we’ve been there and done that, it sucked. It is a blueprint you know.

            Skippy… Personally I vote we try something different for once, you know climb off the gawd head pedestal self awarded thingy and show some respect for this place we call home. The kids threw a big party and its a mess, the adults always end cleaning up. Hope the house ain’t burned down before they get home, seems the kids shorted out the gate motors and were stuck at the entrance to the driveway. We would like to save everything and one, hay and no charge either, it just makes us feel good.

      1. James Sterling

        Hibernation is not so smart. It’s voluntary poverty, putting your life on hold just so there can be more of you. Humans should live more awesome lives as individuals, by being fewer in number, not squeeze up to make room, like yeast.

        The interest group that’s against this is the minority that owns all the stuff and wants more humans to be their servants and rentpayers. Notice that the European people voluntarily started having smaller families, and what did the rich do? Start importing people because “we need workers for growth”. So Europe’s population is growing when it would be static or falling.

        1. F. Beard

          Yes, desalination is expensive but there are such things as the Great Lakes, icebergs and other natural sources of fresh water too.

  13. Lambert Strether

    “The studies in this book present evidence that the quest for growth in GDP and corporate profits has in fact worsened the lives of millions of women and men.”

    Feh. How can there be evidence for that?

  14. polistra

    I sometimes wonder if Obama has a mischievous or rebellious streak against his Mafia masters. Earlier he appointed Elizabeth Warren to an advisory role, and she finally got run out of town by the Mafia. Now he nominates Kim, also no friend of the banksters.

    1. scraping_by

      Yes. Ms. Warren in a position without authority. Now, Dr. Kim in a position in which he’ll have to rely on economists to advise his every move. And, being an academic, he almost certainly believes strongly in expertise.

      I think Barry, behind a sock puppet, believes strongly in sock puppets.

      1. readerOfTeaLeaves

        Having recently read Warren’s 2003 “The Two Income Trap”, it’s actually easy for me to suspect that Obama is playing a deeper game.

        Plus, the banksters now have Warren — who probably never in her wildest dreams foresaw herself running for office, let alone US Senate — polling higher than Scott Brown.

        I realize that Yves and many here seem to think that Obama has thrown Warren under the bus, but I’m agnostic. I suspect there’s a deeper game, and as the banksters have revealed the depths of their depravity, deeper forces seem to be shifting. And reading at Jesse’s Cafe and other sources, one begins to sense that the US dollar-based banksters are no longer as welcome abroad. That would also argue for an anyone-but-the-conventional-names appointment.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Warren’s job is to nail down the left side of the Overton Window. She’s about transparent loan documentation. She’s NOT about banksters in orange jumpsuits doing the perp walk.

        2. financial matters

          Yes, definitely hard to dislike Warren…

          I think it’s especially interesting how she ties together two of our biggest problems, housing and education. Her research showed that if parents had the choice they would rather live near a toxic dump than in a bad school district..

          Elizabeth Warren on Debt Crisis, Fair Taxation – YouTube
          Sep 18, 2011 … Elizabeth Warren on the debt crisis and fair taxation. … Coming Collapse of the
          Middle Classby UCtelevision732606 views · Elizabeth Warren …

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htX2usfqMEs

          1. 8 bis

            Hard to dislike her unless you got your limbs blown off in one of the ten covert demi-wars she likes so much. And it’s hard as hell to dislike her if you’re a Zionist maniac cuz then she’s with you all the way.

      2. readerOfTeaLeaves

        Another point that I meant to make, scraping_by, is that if Kim’s background is in public health, then he has a strong **science** background.

        In other words, he would be more able to see through the bullshit of too many economists and the pseudo-sciency nonsense that people like Glenn Hubbard try to churn out.

        As ECONned pointed out (brilliantly, IMVHO), economics dressed itself in the garb of science. At some place in that book, Yves writes about 5% regression stats being accepted as if they ‘proved’ something. (I nearly fell right out of my chair when I read that.)

        So Kim evidently comes from an actual science background.
        No wonder the neoliberals and conventional economists are panicking.
        Those who are working on new economic models ought to be breaking out some champagne.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      When it comes to sheer unadulterated genius in perception management and manufacturing the sheeple’s consent, time and again Obama makes his hero Reagan look like a washed-up B-movie actor.

  15. freedomny

    There is “GROWTH”…and there is “growth”….

    And until the fruits of corporate productivity are shared with the workers who will supply demand, we won’t get the big “G”.

    It’s pretty simple in my simple mind.

    He seems cool, although people in power dressed as rappers tend to give me pause.

    I like my bankers, boring….like me..:)

  16. Kunst

    Is it possible that homo sapiens is an evolutionary dead-end? We seem to be stuck in “forward” (i.e., “more”) with the gas pedal stuck to the floor. Where does exponential end? In a grand spectacular fireworks in the sky followed by darkness. Shut off the electricity (or just the computers) and tell me what happens.

    Too negative, couldn’t possibly be? OK, if you say so.

  17. Hugh

    All of the “liberals” in the Obama Administration turned out to be more Establishment and less liberal, Warren included. As Lambert Strether keeps pointing out, Warren has never called for prosecutions of banksters, and outside of the one area of consumer protection, her views are pretty conventional. As for scientists, I would direct your attention to Jane Lubchenco at NOAA. She was supposed to bring scientific integrity to that agency but instead she shilled for BP during the blowout in the Gulf, obstructed scientific investigations into damage caused by the spill, and consistently minimized its damage.

    Then there is Steven Chu at Energy. The Macondo blowout in the Gulf happened on his watch and the Administration is continuing its drill, drill, drill policy. Chu put together a panel of pro-fracking “experts” who pretty much called for, surprise, fracking to continue with a little more monitoring to placate the rubes. Nor has Fukushima dampened Chu’s promotion of nuclear power.

    So when someone says Kim is this or that, my first reaction is look at Obama’s track record. Obama has appointed no progressive to any position in his Administration. He has appointed only a very few liberals and most of these were very Establishment and pushed out early on. Warren who, as I said, is not all that liberal was foisted on him and he managed to get rid of her eventually in any case.

    I think the White House thinking went something like this. Summers is poison and stir up a lot of unwanted controversy in an election year. Jeffrey Sachs was too much of a loose cannon and never a serious contender. The World Bank focused on the developing world is just not that big a deal for such a corporatist and bankster friendly President. So they were willing to look a little further afield and get wider input. The Clintons brought up Kim. As President of Dartmouth, he is a gold card carrying member of the Establishment. His ethnicity and background in public health in the Third World would make him a more sellable candidate in the face of growing discontent from the Third World with US domination of the Bank. It would be a gesture to the Clintons, also a plus in an election year. As for economics, neoliberalism is pretty entrenched at the Bank and with Kim being an Establishment player it would be unlikely that he would, or could, lead any inhouse rebellions there. That his nomination might be seen as a positive, by liberals in the party, well that was gravy but incidental to the choice.

    1. skippy

      Might I add Hugh that the phrase “Health Care” is a stalking horse. I suggest people read some white papers from the IMF or any other Agency mob.

      I’ll start the ball rolling see: Alma Ata declaration, health is a fundamental human right. Per South Africa.

      Within a year of the publication of the Alma Ata declaration,
      Walsh and Warren published an article on selective PHC,
      which marked a radical shift away from the principles of
      the Alma Ata Declaration.12,13 The article argued for the
      postponement of comprehensive PHC on the grounds that
      it was costly to implement. Instead, a selective approach to
      PHC, characterised by a focus on limited interventions, was
      advanced, thus marking the beginning of third generation
      health reforms. In line with this selective approach,
      international donor agencies preferred to prioritise demand driven as opposed to needs-driven interventions. This
      demand-driven approach emphasised cost-effectiveness
      for everyone and measurable, short-term outcomes.

      http://www.hst.org.za/uploads/files/chap7_08.pdf

      Skip here… “prioritise demand driven as opposed to needs-driven interventions.”…. ROFLOL!!!!

      It boils down to work morbidity or mortality… cough husbandry of the labor force with regards to negative – positive GDP influences, that is all, nothing else. Once you scrape off the flowery academic verbosity its all a neoliberals wet dream, the razor in the candy apple thingy.

      Hell I goes as far to say, a persons level of health care is directly attributed to the GDP effect they create, ha!

      Skippy…. more on request, white paper stuff, although search for your self people and explore unbiased…eh.

      Bonus reading…. http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/sites/default/files/documents/WhitePaper_CleanAirAct.pdf

      Summary: The 1970 CCA from provides sustained, long-run net economic benefits.

  18. MJ

    Amusing that phrase ‘gold bugs’

    How are all you property bugs out there … how did that work out for you?

    And then we have the stock market bugs … last decade hasn’t been so kind has it

  19. LAS

    Growth alone does not solve problems and sometimes IT IS the problem. Cancer, for instance, is rampant growth of useless cells and a reasonable analogy. More of the same systematically bad result is a costly, deadly mistake, both at the cellular level and the social.

    Economists should use evidence-based outcome of policy results for a WHOLE POPULATION. I should think they’d be embarassed not to. If they only realized how biased they sound without it.

    Once a system is effective for the whole population, its growth MAY be positive.

  20. Klassy!

    Larry Summers made a remarkably transparent “why you need economists” pitch: all the problems the US was facing were created by economists and could all be solved with one magic bullet: economists!

  21. Fiver

    As noted by a couple of posters, why for one moment believe Kim is a genuine “good guy” or that Obama would appoint one unless it was as a device? Why would a “focus on health care” rather than “development” necessarily translate into “good guy”?

    1) Seems to me the health care provider, drug, medical equipment and numerous associated industries happen to be ones in which the US is a pretty strong player. I’m sure they’d be happy to make a ton of money via WB funding – imagine some venture offering health care to a whole country…

    2) With the WB “out” of development that leaves the good ole multinational private sector to “do the job”. Wouldn’t that be dandy?

    3) More to the point: the WB just released a report that claims the Millenium Development goals had already been reached – there’s no money to be made just helping people who are not officially poor, so it’s useful if people needing non-medical help (mere food and water, for example) suddenly disappear. The fact that it’s known their metrics wildly understate those in various degrees of poverty is of course ignored. Note: there are a number of excellent links in this piece

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/17

    The WB’s focus remains exactly where it was – Africa – with the WB up to its eyeballs in facilitating the sacking of the last reserve of potential agricultural land and resources for wealthy US, Chinese, European and other “investors” and development “partners”.

    Remember. This is Obama we’re talking about. Not a chance he would move any important aspect of US global policy off plan.

  22. diptherio

    When I heard about Kim’s appointment it reminded me of the time that former community organizer ran for president, and how excited all the liberals got then. What happened to him anyway?

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