News & Politics

Wanted: Dirty Rotten Scoundrel

Ten reasons why Paul Wolfowitz would be perfect for the job of World Bank president.
1. He would follow in the great tradition of World Bank president Robert McNamara, who also helped kill tens of thousands of people in a poor country most Americans couldn't find on a map before getting the job.

2. It helps to be a good liar when you run an institution with employees who earn over $100,000 a year to pretend to help billions of people who live on less than $1 a day.

3. With all his experience helping U.S. companies grab Iraq 's oil profits, he's got just the right experience for doling out lucrative World Bank contracts to U.S. businesses.

4. After predecessor James Wolfensohn blew millions of dollars on "consultations" with citizen groups to give the appearance of openness, Wolfowitz's tough-guy style is just what's needed to rid the World Bank of those irritating activists.

5. Unlike former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, another one of the four leading candidates, at least Wolfowitz hasn't failed at running a Fortune 500 company.

6. Unlike the Treasury Department's John Taylor, another leading candidate, at least Wolfowitz doesn't want to get rid of the institution he would head.

7. While earning a University of Chicago Ph.D., he was exposed to the tenets of market fundamentalism that have reigned at the World Bank for decades.

8. He has experience in constructing echo chambers where only the advice he wants to hear is spoken.

9. He knows some efficient private contractors who build echo chambers for only a few hundred billion dollars (cost plus, of course).

10. He can develop a pre-emptive poverty doctrine where the World Bank could invade countries that fail to make themselves safe for U.S. business, modeled on the U.S. pre-emptive war doctrine he helped craft.

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John Cavanagh is the director of Institute for Policy Studies. For more information about contenders for the World Bank's presidency, visit