Hypocrisy Trap

Hypocrisy Trap: The World Bank and the Poverty of Reform

Catherine Weaver
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7rv01
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  • Book Info
    Hypocrisy Trap
    Book Description:

    As the preeminent international development agency for the past sixty years, the World Bank has attracted equal amounts of criticism and praise. Critics are especially quick to decry the World Bank's hypocrisy--the pervasive gaps between the organization's talk, decisions, and actions. In the wake of the Paul Wolfowitz leadership scandal in May 2006, perceptions of hypocrisy have exacted a heavy toll on the Bank's authority and fueled strong demands for wide-scale reform. Yet what exactly does the hypocrisy of the World Bank look like, and what or who causes it? InHypocrisy Trap, Catherine Weaver explores how the characteristics of change in a complex international organization make hypocrisy difficult to resolve, especially after its exposure becomes a critical threat to the organization's legitimacy and survival.

    Using a rich sociological model and several years of field research, Weaver delves into the political and cultural worlds within and outside of the Bank to uncover the tensions that incite and perpetuate organized hypocrisy. She examines the sources and dynamics of hypocrisy in the critical cases of the Bank's governance and anticorruption agenda, and its recent Strategic Compact reorganization. The first book to unravel the puzzle of organized hypocrisy in relation to reform at the World Bank,Hypocrisy Trapultimately enriches our understanding of culture, behavior, and change in international organizations.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3781-6
    Subjects: Political Science, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Introduction: Hypocrisy and Change in the World Bank
    (pp. 1-18)

    In his brief tenure as World Bank president between May 2005 and June 2007, Paul Wolfowitz made fighting corruption his top priority. He aggressively pushed the governance agenda on the Bank’s reluctant borrowing states. He openly criticized the Bank’s management and staff for tolerating corruption in lending. He went so far as to unilaterally cancel big loans and projects, over the objections of Bank staff and client governments, where he suspected corruption was present. Wolfowitz declared that under his watch the World Bank would have “zero tolerance” for corruption.¹

    Then in late March 2007 news broke of the generous secondment,...

  7. CHAPTER TWO The World Bank Hypocrisy Trap
    (pp. 19-43)

    The hypocrisy of an organization is, at heart, the gaps between its talk, decisions, and actions.¹ In the case of the World Bank, hypocrisy reflects the conflicts between what the Bank as a collective actor says—its espoused goals, ideals, and policies—and what the Bank does. Organizational hypocrisy is a “disjuncture between word and deed, or between publicly-accepted norms and behavior,”² a disparity that reflects the inconsistencies between what the Bank expected to say and do in an idealistic world, and what it is able to accomplish within its political, financial and cultural environments. Such hypocrisies can be observed...

  8. CHAPTER THREE The World’s Bank and the Bank’s World
    (pp. 44-91)

    At first glance, the World Bank appears the afterthought of the representatives from the forty-four countries who convened in Bretton Woods, Connecticut, in July 1944. Global leaders, led by distinguished economist John Maynard Keynes from Great Britain and U.S. Assistant Treasury Secretary Harry Dexter White, were primarily preoccupied with establishing a stable international system of exchange rates and preventing the balance-of-payments crises that had caused the Great Depression and contributed to the outbreak of World War II. As a result, they spent a majority of the conference debating the structure and rules of the International Monetary Fund. Only in the...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Good Governance and Anticorruption: From Rhetoric to Reality?
    (pp. 92-139)

    Good governance and anticorruption are central to the theories and practices of global development today. The ambiguously defined, yet somehow morally indisputable concepts are widely viewed as the panacea for many development ills. Good governance and anticorruption measures are the keys to holding inefficient governments accountable for their actions. They are the preconditions for a market-friendly environment that attracts investment and ensures economic growth.¹ They are also the institutional means by which the poor can achieve the basic human security, become “empowered” to exercise their voice, and overcome the barriers to realizing the fundamental instrumental freedoms that constitute development.² Moreover,...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE The Poverty of Reform
    (pp. 140-175)

    The World Bank today is “overstretched and underloved.”¹ Deprived of the Cold War rationale driving previous aid expenditures and faced with growing budget constraints, financial support for the Bank has both dwindled and come with more strings attached. In the past fifteen years, donors have demanded that the Bank address a complex array of emerging international issues, from reconstruction after conflicts and natural disasters to the prevention and treatment of AIDS. The resulting mission creep challenges core organizational skills, mandates, and scarce resources. Simultaneously, competition from private capital flows and other multilateral and bilateral aid agencies has diminished the demand...

  11. CHAPTER SIX The Fog of Development
    (pp. 176-192)

    The Hypocrisy of the World Bank has been present throughout the institution’s history. Such hypocrisy may have gone relatively unnoticed thirty years ago when the Bank was not yet widely considered an important actor in global politics. However, growth in its size and influence lately has drawn the powerful IO into the world spotlight. Increased attention to the Bank’s activities exposes its hypocrisy in its most overt and subtle forms. This results in a politicization of the Bank that affects its organizational security by threatening its autonomy and authority. Attacks on its external legitimacy and political support increase pressure on...

  12. Interviews and Personal Correspondence
    (pp. 193-194)
  13. References
    (pp. 195-218)
  14. Index
    (pp. 219-224)