1 - "To many
people engaged in the effort to mitigate the effects of poverty around
the globe, the World Bank is a black box. Its development contributions
and its great potential are hindered by processes and systems that obscure
rather than illuminate. David Shaman undertook yeoman efforts to reform
the institution, using modern communications technology to achieve more
transparency. Now in this superb book, Shaman reveals the resistance
he faced and offers important recommendations for reform. He explores
the crisis of identity that has plagued the Bank since its creation:
Is it a financial institution requiring appropriate confidentiality
and the discretion of a bank, or is it a development agency whose mission
requires openness, participation and widely-shared results metrics?
Shaman leans toward the latter. This view merits deeper reflection and
debate which this book should provoke."
J. Brian Atwood, Dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public
Affairs, University of Minnesota, and former Administrator of the U.S.
Agency for International Development
2 - "Impressive, as it is highly readable while thoroughly researched.
Jo Ritzen, President, Maastricht University, former World Bank Vice
President, and author of A Chance for the World Bank
3 - "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 in their efforts to wrestle control from them so that they
could use the technology (webcasting to stream video content over the
Internet) to present a more sanitized version of the Bank in line with
corporate objectives. I know of no other study which illuminates the
"street-level" politics of a multilateral organization so
well, or which shows culturally quite different notions of "transparency"
and "accountability" being used as weapons in bureaucratic
struggles over budgets and authority."
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
4 - "A fascinating and frightening expose 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, USA
5 - "In this book David Shaman takes us on a conducted tour of
what many regard as one of the world's more extraordinary institutions,
the World Bank. This is in the context of his efforts to promote B-SPAN,
an internal World Bank service he launched to provide video coverage
of important events and analyses both to the Bank itself and to its
external stakeholders. He captures very well the mix in the Bank of
everything from enormous ability focused on advancing the cause of the
poor to bureaucracy devoted to empire-building and the denial of information,
with no holds barred in naming his adversaries and identifying their
defects. Given this mix, you can rely on finding something to love or
hate in the Bank, depending on one's prejudices."
John Williamson, Senior Fellow, The Peterson Institute for International
Economics, and author of phrase "Washington Consensus"
6 - "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
7 - "David Ian Shaman's "The World Bank Unveiled"
is required reading for anyone who believes public institutions should
be transparent and accountable. His hard-won insights provide valuable
guidance for concerned citizens and government watchdogs."
Melanie Sloan, Executive Director, Citizens for Responsibility and
Ethics in Washington
8 - "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 this decade 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
9 - "The World Bank is a big agency with an even bigger mission.
How does it manage constantly to reinvent itself from within? David
Shaman gives us an insider's account of a crusade within the Bank by
staff with a shared passion for sounder environmental policies, and
a belief in transparency. He details with relish the battles, allies,
and enemies which shaped their successes and setbacks. Early on a senior
colleague tells him that in bringing about change "it is better
to ask forgiveness than permission". The fact that this credo works
for the reformers highlights a strength in the less-than-totally-disciplined
Bank - the flipside of the disparaging observation once made that the
World Bank is a "travelling seminar". Shaman's tale reveals
life within that travelling seminar and the possibilities which emerge
when an organization is requestioned from within."
Ngaire Woods, Director of the Global Economic Governance Programme,
University of Oxford , and author of The Globalizers: the IMF, the World
Bank, and their Borrowers
10 - The World Bank Unveiled is a well written, lengthy tome
that is part history of the World Bank - especially focusing on the
wheeling and dealing behind B-Span, part personal memoire, part scathing
critique, and part policy prescription. These parts can be hard to balance.
Yet while Shaman is clearly a man on a mission to make the World Bank
more transparent and more accountable, the book offers numerous credible
insider details as it builds its case, and for the most part avoids
being overly self-congratulatory or ideological. From selecting its
presidents to self-evaluation of project effectiveness, the World Bank
lacks transparency. However deserved critiques of the World Bank may
be, at least some of these critiques spring from a deeper source over
which the World Bank has only partial responsibility. No one really
knows how to cause development. It is an art as much as a science, and
either way, it is a field marked by failure and inefficiency. That said,
those whose job it is to help the starving and the poor have a special
responsibility to go beyond the call of duty to be effective. Whatever
those in the World Bank and its stakeholders make of Shaman's book,
I hope they confront it, and make themselves more effective as they
respond. My research suggests that organizations become more effective
as they increase their efforts and abilities to explain themselves.
I endorse Shaman's call for more transparency at the World Bank.
Dan Lindley, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University
of Notre Dame, and author of Promoting Peace with Information: Transparency
as a Tool of Security Regimes
11 - David Shamans
account of his teams efforts to bring greater transparency to
World Bank operations is unique in its details. His recall of the day-to-day
intrigues that constantly worked to undermine the establishment of B-Span
as a window into the Banks deliberations, and its interactions
with external actors, is prodigious. A clear dividing line is evident
between dedicated staff who give top priority to the Banks mission,
and those who give top priority to their own personal agendas. While
some may consider this work a bit long, the detail is important as it
provides a riveting and in-depth look at, not only the Bank, but, how
all bureaucracies work. In sum, Shaman aptly describes how an institution
is pulled down to its lowest common denominator by self-serving bureaucrats
who care more about their own position in the hierarchy, than about
the achievement of the institutions objectives. Many revelations
and many lessons to be learned.
Steve Berkman, former World Bank staffer and author of The World
Bank and the Gods of Lending
12 -By all measures,
this book is an historic masterpiece of work valuable to every one around
the world, living in poor or rich countries. I highly recommend its
translation into all working languages of the UN and encourage holding
an International Conference to elaborate on its issues and discuss its
new operational model and the practical steps that lead the way to go
further toward its implementation.
Dr. Faika Elrefaei, former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Egypt
13 -Much has been written and said about the World Bank from outside
commentators and polemicists. But apart from some notable exceptions
( high officials after they left the Bank, the Wapenhaus Report and
some Independent Evaluation Group internal reports ) little has been
said from inside the Bank about the nefarious effects of "Bank
culture" and how to change it, if only to reduce it's spillovers
on the problems of global poverty. This book makes a good case that
the slippery ethical slopes where World Bank managers engage in bureaucratic
combat over turf and budget, have a deep and far-reaching effect on
how our taxpayer dollars, euros and yens ( as well as yuans and rials
) are used in attacking global poverty. The amount of detail the author
brings to bear - chapter and verse -- is hard to discount out of hand.
This book should be read not as an attempt to paint the World Bank as
"rotten" (it isn't!) , but rather as a painstakingly detailed
documentation of how even one bad apple can spoil a perfectly healthy
bunch, and how personal ambition can supersede serving client interests
while hiding behind what are called prudent, fiscally responsible or
sound personnel management principles. This book will be of interest
to all social scientists interested in sustainable development and the
reduction of poverty -- and in particular those from all disciplines
with an interest in the root causes of organizational dysfunction.
Claude I. Salem , Executive Director of Partnerships for Capacity
Development, an educational non-profit for rural development professionals
in Africa . Formerly a Sr. Advisor to WBI and Program Development Manager
at the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN)