Social Scientist. v 8, no. 91 (Feb 1980) p. 3.


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VERONIKA BEWHOLDT'THOMSEN

Investment on Poor: An Analysis of World Bank Policy

PART ONE

AN attempt is made in this article to understand the economic rationality of the "new" development strategy of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) in connection with the present capitalist world economy. There has been a change in the development policy of the World Bank since 1973. It is the attack on absolute poverty. The present analysis is based on the 1977 annual speech of the World Bank president, McNamara, to the Board of Governors. This speech summarizes clearly the main elements of the new strategy. In the later speech of 1978 there are no new aspects. It is essentially an appeal to the industrialized countries to lift the limitations on the import of goods from the developing countries and to increase the volume of credits and the proportion of their gross national product (GNP) for development aid.

The influence and vote-quota of each member-country correspond to its share in the Bank's capital. The United States of America has over 23 percent of the votes at its disposal; Canada, Great Britain, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Japan and the US have together built up a majority block. In short, the World Bank may be seen as representing the interest of big transnational capitals. The refinancing of the World Bank takes place



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