Two Unhappy with This Appointment

I was just listening to the news at the top of the hour. I was just minding my own business. I didn’t expect to hear something directly affecting my job: Mr. Jim Yong Kim (as Vanguard refers to him) is Barack Obama’s choice as nominee for president of the world bank.

He is a Harvard-trained physician with a Ph. D. in anthropology to go with it. Still the financial group Vanguard is placing him in a list as Mr. and comparing him to another candidate, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The Korean-born Kim, 52, according toUSA Today represents a break from the financiers and bureaucrats who have run the World Bank. “For the first time in the bank’s history, it will have a president whose life mission is what the bank aims for: the elimination of poverty . . . . It’s a brash decision which breaks the standard practice of going with a banker or a political insider.” Those words from a man some thought would be a good choice for the position, himself. Forbes magazine seemed to want him.

This frustrated me. Dr. Kim hasn’t been responsive to my work recruiting him, but he was someone I felt we could talk to. His speeches online give me hope that this leader understands the value of liberal education. From the report, it sounded like I was the only one bothered by the appointment on the planet. Everybody seemed so happy and pleasantly surprised. It was a love fest of a news story.

Not surprisingly, Forbes found another one. Somebody at Harvard with economics degrees from BYU and MIT. Dr. Lant Pritchett. He calls the appointment “craven” and accuses the Obama Administration of caving to the left-wing. Dr. Lantt does claim credit for supporting Barack Obama’s election in 2008…nothing in the article mentions his support in 2012.

I’d push a Utah/BYU/Romney connection here, but that would indicate “bias.”

This is where you find pushback: people who have degrees in one thing and have held two (2) jobs. The point is specialization. It makes you an “expert.” Unfortunately, the World Bank deals with complex issues, and such a specialized approach has produced failure in the past. Failure to the point where some have called for the U.S. to pull out of the World Bank, altogether.

Dr. Pritchett ends his Harvard biography with this:

[And nothing else. Some bios list non-family and non-professional accomplishments like climbing Everest or playing the cello making it seem as if all of the rest was just tossed off. I believe the only point of this is to make the rest of us, who collapse on the couch and watch Friends reruns at the end of the day, feel like slackers. I think getting the above done while being a husband and father to three children is plenty.]

I don’t disagree. I just don’t want someone like this running the World Bank.

Or Dartmouth.

About Paul T. Henley, Ph. D.
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