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William Easterly: World Bank Gadfly

"William Easterly, a senior World Bank economist, tested the limits of tolerance [of internal dissent at the institution] in 2001 when he published The Elusive Quest for Growth, a book that chronicled the failed development panaceas the Bank has promoted over the years. In a Prologue, Easterly applauded the fact that his employer 'encourages gadflies like me to exercise intellectual freedom.' In the preface to a paperback edition, published in 2002, however, Easterly was obliged to revise this assessment. In truth, the Bank, he had learned, 'encourages gadflies like me to find another job.'"

["When Catherine Caufield began the reporting for her book on the World Bank, Masters of Illusion, she asked the Bank to direct her toward some of its most successful projects. The Bank's press officers made repeated promises but produced no list. Finally... they came up with the name of one project, the South Bassein Offshore Gas Development Project. Caufield could find no one in India who had heard of it. Later, she discovered that the project was a gas field in the Arabian Sea and was known in India by a different name. The Bank had loaned $772 million to the project and, because no villagers had needed to be resettled from the open sea, had managed to avoid controversy -- this was apparently the successful part. The project had taken twice as long as expected to complete, and, according to Bank records, more than a third of the loan had ultimately been written off 'due to misprocurement.'"]

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