Some Not Entirely Typical Remarks by a World Bank President

The following quotations are taken from: Jim Yong Kim, Joyce V. Millen, Alec Irwin, and John Gershman, Editors, Dying for Growth: Global Inequality and the Health of the Poor, Common Courage Press: Monroe, Maine, 2000.

Introduction: What is Growing? Who is Dying? By Joyce V. Millen, Alec Irwin, and Jim Yong Kim

“This book seeks to fill an important gap in knowledge by examining the documentable health effects of economic development policies and strategies promoted by the governments of wealthy countries and by international agencies such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization.” (p. 6)

“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.” (p.7)

“Even where neoliberal policy measures have succeeded in stimulating economic growth, growth’s benefits have not gone to those living in “dire poverty,” one-fourth of the world’s population.” (p. 7)

“Using Cuba as an example, Chapter Thirteen makes the case that when leaders prioritize social equity and the fundamental right of all citizens to health care, even economically strapped governments can achieve improved and more equitable health outcomes.” (p. 10)

Conclusion: Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will, By Joyce V. Millen, Alec Irwin, and Jim Yong Kim

“Through a series of specific cases, we have demonstrated how growth – the market-led economic growth sought by governments, the growth in profits celebrated by businesses, and the growth in power and influence of transnational financial and corporate interests – often comes at the expense of the disenfranchised and vulnerable…  As the imperatives of growth at any cost increasingly determine economic and social policy and the behavior of global corporations, more people join the ranks of the poor and greater numbers suffer and die.” (p. 363)

“Today, Chomsky notes, we see widespread ‘efforts to make people feel helpless, as if there is some kind of mysterious economic law that forces things to happen in a particular way, like the law of gravitation.’ Yet belief in such an immutable law is simply ‘nonsense.’  ‘These are all human institutions, they are subject to human will, and they can be eliminated like other tyrannical institutions have been.’” (p. 390, single quote marks note quotes from Chomsky)