The World's Banker by Sebastian Mallaby
More the story of James Wolfensohn's leadership of the World Bank than a full history of the Bank, Mallaby's pro-Bank discussion of its recent history doesn't provide the reader with the data needed to understand the balance of concerns that must drive their decisions. i.e. Mallaby affirms the quote from BootleggersAndBaptists anecdotally.
In many of the world's rich capitals, ane especially in Washington, public policy is decided by a bewildering array of lobbies and interest groups and advertising sneak attacks, and generally by people who campaign single-mindedly for narrow goals: benefits for veterans, subsidies for farmers, tax loopholes for businesses. A similar army of advocates pounds upon the World Bank's doors, demanding that Bank projects bend to particular concerns: no damage to indigenous peoples, no harm to rain forests, nothing that might hurt human rights, or Tibet, or democratic values.
The creation of IDA (International Development Association) reflected shifts in the mind-set of the Bank's leading shareholders. It was the height of the cold war (1960), and US policy makers looked up on cheap World Bank credits as a useful tool for propping up sympathetic governments.
At the Nairobi gathering in 1973, (Robert) McNamara delivered his best-remembered lines. He spoke to the world about "absolute poverty" a "condition of life so degraded by disease, illiteracy, malnutrition and squalor as to deny its victims basic human necessities... The extremes of privilege and deprivation are simply no longer acceptable", he concluded. "We should strive to eradicate poverty by the end of this century".
and the pool answered, "But I loved Narcissus because, as he lay on my banks and looked down at me, in the mirror of his eyes, I saw ever my own beauty mirrored."
Before (James) Wolfensohn's arrival, the Bank had withdrawn from the Narmada dam project in India after NGOs denounced it. Wolfensohn quickly built upon that precedent, withdrawing from Nepal's Arun III dam projectin August 1995.
The way John Briscoe saw things, this was a mistake. Nepal had almost no resources apart from water and gravity; if you refused to build a dam there, you condemned its people.