||The debate over how – or even whether - the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs) can be reformed has taken on greater importance in recent years, thanks to an apparent fusion of neoconservative geopolitics and neoliberal economics in the leadership of both the World Bank (Paul Wolfowitz) and International Monetary Fund (Rodrigo Rato). Attempts at internal democratisation and governance restructuring failed during the late 1990s and early 2000s, although greater attention to corruption on Bank projects emerged in 2005.
Debt relief was scanty, and little or no success was recorded in moving the World Bank away from environmentally destructive and economically painful projects and policies. While civil society cooption was one of Wolfensohn’s specialties, this approach was both exhausted and fruitless by 2005, and protests against the new Bank president took on greater weight. The basis thus exists for a full-fledged decommissioning strategy, one adopted by leading Third World social movements and thinktanks.