“A fascinating and frightening exposé of the World Bank’s operations. An insider’s intimate view of how an organization meant to help the developing world actually hindered progress. A must read!”
– ARUN GANDHI, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and Founder/Director, Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute
“This is an inside story about the World Bank and the challenges it is facing, from outside and within. It is a story about accountability. It is a personal account of an expert, who has tried to bridge the gap between a bureaucracy and the people that should be served. The story is frightening and challenging at the same time. The world needs this Bank. But Bank reform is due. I hope this book is widely read.”
– JAN PRONK, Professor of Theory and Practice of International Development at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, former Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD and former Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation
“David Shaman’s The World Bank Unveiled offers an unparalleled account of the inner workings of the Knowledge Bank experiment under James Wolfensohn. As the leader of one of the innovative projects - B-SPAN - that were part of attempts to transform the Bank into a more transparent and humble partner for development, Shaman is able to provide a fascinating case study of the way that this vision withered in the face of the powerful existing culture of the Bank. Whilst there have been many books from ex-Bank staff questioning the Bank’s role in poverty reduction and development, Shaman’s is by far the most significant account of the Knowledge Bank experiment, its potential and its ultimate demise.”
– SIMON McGRATH, Professor of International Education and Development, University of Nottingham and co-author of Knowledge for Development? Comparing British, Japanese, Swedish and World Bank Aid
“This is a knock-out of a book. It tells the inside story of how a small group of “guerrilla” staff members, initially working on environmental issues, wheeled and dealed to get the World Bank to accept unedited presentations of its activities both to its own staff and to the wider public. And of how some Bank managers out-machiavellied Machiavelli…”
– ROBERT H. WADE, Professor of Political Economy and Development, London School of Economics, noted expert on the World Bank and recipient of the Leontief Prize in Economics 2008
NOBEL Prize-winning economist and former World Bank Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz repeatedly discussed the importance of transparency in policymaking at both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He believes the two institutions’ lack of transparency has led to bad decisions. Bad decisions at IMF and the World Bank mean real pain for the world’s poor.
A perception exists that “the suits” close the World Bank’s doors to deliberate the fate of the earth’s poorest populations, and only when the doors are unlocked do people living in poverty learn what others have decided about their future. ...
... In an effort to dismantle secrecy and create transparency, B-SPAN was launched, an Internet-based broadcasting system to disseminate unedited videos of the World Bank’s internal discussions and debates. The bank’s culture and bureaucracy, hardened over a half century, presented them with a formidable foe. Some powerful officials feared the transparency initiative; others withheld public support while standing on the sidelines. The World Bank Unveiled documents this epic struggle. It is the story of a revolution to transform the World Bank, and a case study of the Bank’s power to transform people’s lives.
DAVID IAN SHAMAN took his zeal for a better world to work with him as a researcher at the World Bank. He became part of a small unit that created B-SPAN, a web-based telecast project that made unedited bank deliberations available worldwide, often on a same-day basis.