The Sins of a Sainted Bank

Critics say the once admired World Bank bullies the poor, hurts the environment and hoards its money

How can a bank designed to do good works, and not even make a profit, earn such a bad reputation? The World Bank, which is 50 years old this year, ought to be celebrating its career as the Mother Teresa of global finance. All told, the bank has extended $300 billion in loans to pay for 6,000 projects ranging from Japan's bullet train to a cataract-surgery clinic in India that will serve 11 million people. Instead of inspiring congratulations, however, the institution's golden anniversary has drawn damning accusations that the bank has damaged the environment, bolstered authoritarian regimes and favored rich...

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