WORLD BANK & INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION THEORY

WORLD BANK & INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION THEORY

WORLD BANK AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION THEORY

This research paper examines how the history, evolution and functioning of the World Bank comports with modern international organization theory. Fifty years old in 1994, the World Bank has played an influential role in international economic relations and in particular as the principal vehicle for channelling and coordinating international governmental loans from the developed nations to the less developed countries (LDCs). Its role has changed, especially during the past quarter century, as the world economy and world politics became more interdependent and more complex. In recent years, the World Bank has been subjected to severe criticism from a variety of sources and is undergoing a process of adaptation as it seeks to refashion a new role for itself and to strengthen its effectiveness but in some respects it has failed to modernize itself to meet the requirements of a rapidly changing world economy.

International organization theory and world politics

In the view of structural realists, who dominated thinking about international relations during most of the Cold War, international organizations were largely seen as the handmaidens of the Great Powers and somewhat marginal players in the world of international geopolitics. According to Keohane & Nye, “realist analysis . . . insisted that national security is the primary national goal and that in international politics security threats are permanent” (6). The realists assumed that “politics is continually characterized by active or potential conflict among states, with the use of force possible at any time” (Keohane & Nye 24). Modern theorists, while not discounting the importance of such factors, posit that in a world of complex interdependence, brought about by advances in technology in areas such as communications, power has tended over recent decades, and especially since the end of the Cold War, to become more diffus…

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