Trump Picks Longtime Critic Of The World Bank To Lead The World Bank

David Malpass.Screengrab/Bloomberg Politics/YouTube

David Malpass is no fan of the World Bank, but President Trump has nominated him to lead it.

President Trump is expected to nominate David Malpass to lead the World Bank’s board, according to the Economist. Currently, Malpass handles international affairs at America’s Treasury. He has described the World Bank as part of a “giant sprawl” of international organizations that create “mountains of debt without solving problems.”

Malpass shares a concern with many other conservatives that state institutions "do not have to prove their worth in the marketplace*."* This anxiety is even greater when the public-sector institution in question is multilateral and does not answer to any government. Malpass has criticized the World Bank and organizations like it for “mission creep” and prioritizing the bank above the clients.

This “mission creep” is the fault of member governments, who own the bank, and the staff. World leaders consistently invite the bank to become involved in new initiatives, blueprints, or facilities. Malpass wants the bank involved in a “debt-transparency initiative” to ensure that the international liabilities of the world’s governments are not obscured. This will add to the bank’s responsibilities, perhaps even exacerbating the “mission creep.”

Malpass has also expressed concern about the growth of China. He has criticized the Belt Road Initiative (BRI), which attempts to build up infrastructure across central Asia and beyond. Malpass has accused China of overlending to fragile countries to then take ownership of the project when the governments default.

After Jim Yong Kim’s announcement that he would step down as president of the World Bank, some hoped that the old way of an American proposed by the POTUS heading the bank would end. This hope was in vain, for as long as Trump nominated a “credible” candidate, he would have his way.

Malpass is the kind of candidate that another Republican president would have considered. Malpass "speaks four languages and has worked for three administrations." Although he has been wrong on economic questions in the past, such as being content about financial risks before the financial crisis in 2008, none of his decisions have been career-ending mistakes.

One requirement for the World Bank board job is that the candidate has the “appreciation for multilateral co-operation.” He may struggle to convince the board that he has this appreciation after declaring that multilateralism has gone “substantially too far.”