The head you can’t scratch

Would you like to vote for the President of the World Bank, an organisation which your country likely either lends to, or borrows from, to the tunes of millions of dollars every year, and which shapes the economies of countries across the globe? Well, you can’t. The Bush administration will decide which US citizen gets the job when James “Jim” Wolfensohn leaves the post after 10 years encumbrance. You might think this a little undemocratic, but it’s okay – the Europeans get to pick a European to head the IMF in return.

If you’re interested in reading gossip about who might head the behemoth, you can visit World Bank President, run by some of the good folk at IFI Watch.

Oh, and don’t forget that there’s also another race for the leadership of an international organisation going on at the moment – when Supachai Panitchpakdi steps down on September 1, 2005, there’ll be a newly annointed leader of the WTO. Quite who this is is anyone’s guess. The Financial Times suggests that the post is Pascal Lamy’s to lose. But he may well lose it, to either Uruguay’s Carlos Perez del Castillo, Brazil’s Felipe de Seixas Correa, or even a mystery U.S. candidate – the U.S. government haven’t ruled out ruling someone in. But, whoever gets the gong, and to use the words of the splendid Aziz Choudry describing the last time there was a change of guard at the WTO, it’ll be the same formula, same medicine, different chemist.