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14 Cardozo J. Int'l & Comp. L. 313 (2006)
The World Bank and the Ideology of Reform and Development in International Economic Development Discourse

handle is hein.journals/cjic14 and id is 319 raw text is: ARTICLES
Joel M. Ngugi*
Is the current development reform agenda, especially the one
operationalized by the World Bank, Ideological? If so, does it
matter? These are the two questions that animate this article.
In answering both questions in the affirmative, the article first
demonstrates how the current development reform agenda is
Ideological. It then discusses why and how it matters that the
development reform agenda is Ideological. First, the article ar-
gues that Ideological rendering of the development reform
agenda effectively weakens the ability of Third World countries
to articulate their economic and foreign policies in ways that
would benefit their citizenry the most. Second, since the World
Bank, and other international financial institutions (IFIs), are
key players in the development reform agenda, as well as inter-
national organizations meant to reflect the collective will of
their members, the charge of Ideological bias should be taken
more seriously than it has been in the past. Third, the Ideology
of reform and development enables the construction of a dis-
course which obfuscates the real causes of poverty and un-
derdevelopment, and therefore, undermines the efforts to find
real solutions to world poverty. Fourth, and related, the Ideo-
logical development discourse thus produced facilitates the
building of stable alliances between national political and eco-
nomic elites in Third World countries, IFIs, and multinational
corporations. These alliances are sometimes at odds with one
another, but overall, they operate to stabilize the international
economic system as presently configured by containing any seri-
ous threat of major rapture. These alliances therefore ensure
the continued underdevelopment of the Third World and under-
* Assistant Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law, S.J.D., LL.M,
Harvard Law School; LL.B, University of Nairobi, Kenya. I would like to thank Melda
Kamil Ariadno for her indefatigable encouragement for me to finalize this article.


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