Volume XXXIX – Number 2

Thomas Dowling

Abstract:  The World Bank and its associated sister agencies were developed at the end of the Second World War with the noble intent of alleviating the burden of poverty globally. Its goals were set out in its charter at Bretton Woods with the hope that it would pave the way forward for better economic cooperation and stability. While the Bank touts its success stories as examples of its effectiveness in combatting global poverty, the Bank also has many failures on its back. The World Bank has failed to be efficient in the 21st century because it has strayed from its founding mission and principles.  It has become stretched far too thin, being overcommitted to numerous initiatives outside of the charter. This paper focuses on two branches of the World Bank, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), analyzing their founding mission statements and tracing their development and effectiveness over time. The author demonstrates the overstretching of the jurisdiction of the Bank by highlighting three policy areas in which it has failed: combatting the AIDS epidemic, debt relief, and sustainable development. In tracing the evolution of the job of the World Bank, it is evident that the Bank has become misguided, and finds itself lost in a 21st century of complex international political and economic issues, hoping to stay afloat.


Keywords: World Bank, Economic, Global Economy, Economic Policy, International Development Association, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development


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