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John Palmer

Hard Heads

(Autumn 1963)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.14, Autumn 1963, p.38.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The World Bank
James Morris
Faber & Faber. 25s.

Although as a travelogue raconteur Mr Morris is always worth reading both for style and his insight into the ‘out-of-the-way’ countries he has visited, his latest book, purporting to describe, explain and justify the function of the World Bank, is a grave disappointment. One of the most powerful of the international, or rather supernational, bodies established by capitalism after the last world war, the World Bank has played an important role in regulating the volume and classification of investment and ‘aid’ in the underdeveloped world. If the evolution of neo-colonialism has been of importance in preserving the big monopolies, mines and vested interests in the ex-colonies from expropriation, then the Bank’s function has been of significance. Apart from occasional references to the ‘clash between the liberal aspirations of some of the bank’s functionaries and the hard-headed realism of the bankers in charge’, Mr Morris attempts no analysis of the role of the World Bank within international capitalism. Revealing, though, are his examples of the Bank’s insistence on ‘retrenchment’, ‘wage freezes’ ‘and, ‘deflation’ as essential conditions for grants to, underdeveloped countries which still reel along between galloping inflation and slump. Interesting, too, that in many of the countries receiving aid and investment the economic and technical assistance of the Russian bloc is considered no more altruistic than that of the West.

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Last updated: 25 March 2010