Category: Foreign Aid

The World Bank’s Finances: An International S&L Crisis

(October 3, 1994) The World Bank, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has long enjoyed a sound financial reputation. But its AAA credit rating is not justified. Because of the perverse incentives under which the World Bank operates, the quality of its loan portfolio has diminished significantly, and because the bank is backed by rich-country governments, its irresponsible lending exposes Western taxpayers to a possible World Bank bailout on a scale comparable to the U.S. savings-and-loan bailout. That would leave taxpayers in the industrialized countries on the hook for $100 billion; U.S. citizens would be liable for nearly $30 billion.