Gold bug

Robert Zoellic goes gold bug, and the strange US lock on the World Bank presidency.

Robert Zoellick, chosen by George Bush Jnr to head the World Bank:

The [international monetary] system should also consider employing gold as an international reference point of market expectations about inflation, deflation and future currency values…. Although textbooks may view gold as the old money, markets are using gold as an alternative monetary asset today.

Via Brad deLong and Paul Krugman, who have difficulty believing it.

Zoellick´s predecessor was the even less qualified neocon warmonger Paul Wolfowitz.

Can someone remind me – and, more´s the point, Dilma Rousseff, Manmohan Singh, and the rest of the class of developing-country leaders – exactly why the United States gets to treat this really quite important and technically demanding job as a patronage reward for pensioned-off apparatchiks?

Wait a minute, when Wolfowitz quit in disgrace in 2007 :

Brazil, South Korea, China and Pakistan were among a group of developing nations that called for a more transparent process for selecting the head of the bank …

The calls will be much less deferential next time.

Update 11 November
Zoellick has walked back from his gold-bug sentence – but doesn´t rescue his reputation.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web

One thought on “Gold bug”

  1. For "United States" sub "Most recent republican administration" and the question pretty much answers itself. Although the job always seems to have been somewhere that old white lions go to bask, previous appointments appear to have been fairly serious (for better or worse). (Of course, a lot of people believe that the Wolfowitz appointment was also quite seriously intended — rather than pensioning Wolfowitz off, it was about storming another bastion of the reality-based community. And indeed Wolfowitz reportedly shook the organization up quite a bit, installing lickspittles and cronies throughout the upper echelons.)

    I wish the developing countries luck — the Bank and its associated institutions have long been an arena for the economic powers to play political football and "spheres of influence".

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