The World Bank has also had its own scandal featured on the front page of the New York Times. The charge was that they financed a project in Uganda in which poor people had their homes, cattle, and crops destroyed as the project forced them off their own land. The World Bank promised an investigation, which inspired us to post a clock beginning at the time of the promise.*
The clock is now at 294 days, 17 hours, and 54 minutes. The investigation has been repeatedly stonewalled. Unlike Penn State, no World Bank executives faced any consequences. Unlike Penn State, the victims have not been compensated. Unlike Penn State, no institutional reforms have taken place to make it less likely to happen again.
Why the different outcomes? I speculate the most single powerful difference is the state of public opinion as it affects the respective organizations’ reputations. The level of public outrage at Penn State was uber-many times greater than outrage at the World Bank for the respective transgressions. The offenses were different of course, but that alone does not explain the difference in outrage.
It is great that there are more people in rich countries than ever before that care about poor Ugandans. But the level of caring is still way too faint to force the World Bank to be held accountable when it does wrong to poor Ugandans.
*Relevant updates, which were mostly no news, were posted at this site.