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The World Bank is a controversial organisation. It is widely viewed with suspicion, as the international ecomic arm of the US, in thrall to the President who is responsible for appointing the head of the Bank. Eric Toussaint gives a highly readable account of just why the World Bank has become so powerful. In short, clear chapters he shows how the bank operates, who funds it, and what it sets out to promote. The Bank's main purpose is to grant loans to all the newly independent states of the developing world, to help them on their journey to recovery after colonial occupation. In reality, the conditions imposed on these states -- including enforced privatisation of all public services, and enforced neo-liberal rules on trade -- mean that the Bank has become the new colonial authority in everything but name. This is a perfect book for anyone looking for a critical introduction to the history of the Bank and its role in world affairs.
Eric Toussaint is president of the Brussels-based Committee for Cancellation of the Third World Debt and is a Fellow and frequent lecturer at the International Institute for Research and Education in Amsterdam. He edits the journal Les Autres Voix de la Planete and co-edited the anthology IMF/World Bank/WTO: The Free-Market Fiasco (Amsterdam, 1995). Raghu Krishnan is a translator, interpreter and journalist. His articles have appeared in the Economic and Political Weekly (Bombay), Monthly Review (New York) and International Viewpoint (Paris). He translated Claude Jacquin's book The Trade-Union Left and the Birth of a New South Africa (IIRE, Amsterdam, 1999). He currently lives in Paris.