The kinds of "big" development schemes that come most easily to the World Bank often bring with them nominal increases in gross domestic product, but only do so by degrading natural and community systems on which billions of people depend.
Ikal Angelei receives the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize today. She is defending the interests of 500,000 poor indigenous people against a destructive hydropower dam, and has successfully taken on many of the world's biggest dam builders and financiers.
While the U.S. has stopped building new coal plants and has rejected 166 proposed coal plants in the past decade, some of our government institutions are, inexplicably, trying to force new coal plants on other countries.
The opening up of the contest for World Bank president is a historic change whose significance has not been fully appreciated. This is not surprising, given the widespread misunderstanding of the IMF and World Bank.
Could Jim Yong Kim's presidency offer a chance to reinvent the World Bank? Redirecting the supertanker of multilateral development finance will take more than a change of presidents. The entrenched interests in the Bank's management and board will try to prevent a change of course.
President Obama has nominated Jim Yong Kim, a physician who has been a leader of efforts to extend access to health care in poor countries, to lead the World Bank. This is a huge, historic victory for justice.
Working in this space between theory and practice trains students -- and citizens -- to ask better questions about what government is doing, what it can do, and how students can themselves become responsible agents of change.
I think a basic job requirement of leading a major international development institution is that you have an expansive view of human potential. I think the record shows that Larry Summers does not meet this standard, and therefore he is not qualified to lead the World Bank.