President Obama has nominated Dartmouth College President Jim Kim to be head of the World Bank—in the six decades of World Bank existence, all presidents have been Americans, so Dr. Kim is likely to get the job.
Dr. Kim is a physician and public health expert. He ran the World Health Organization’s HIV effort for several years, an effort which I openly criticized.
Dr. Kim is quite the operator and recognizes his opponents early. He encouraged a WHO consultant to monitor my work on HIV, ensuring that the media was aware I was “hostile” to WHO. I guess I was pretty hostile, although I’d like to say I was just critical of the inappropriate endorsements they were giving some Indian drugs at the time. The WHO program improved, and now its endorsements are far better, but still occasionally flawed. I doubt I’ll be getting an invitation to the Bank anytime soon.
What will be interesting is how a left-wing physician will run the only aid organization with a decent smattering of free market economists, who have tried, sometimes successfully, to help nations build private insurance-based healthcare systems. My suspicion is that more and more of the competent staff will leave, and the Bank will endorse more centralized medical systems development. I guess it has symmetry that as Obamacare is about to be challenged in the Supreme Court, the president doubles down on his intent to move the rest of the world away from private healthcare.