Accelerated development
in The ascent of globalisation
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When Robert McNamara was appointed to head the World Bank, he left behind the disastrous Vietnam War, which he had vigorously prosecuted for LBJ. This departure from the Johnson Administration enabled him to rehabilitate his reputation by leading a crusade to eradicate extreme poverty around the world.

When he took over the bank in 1968, it had achieved little and its credibility suffered as the US exerted undue political influence over the bank to support its foreign policy.

McNamara revived the fortunes of the World Bank by attracting funding from outside Washington and Wall Street, thereby reducing US influence and increasing funding to poverty reduction programmes.

Sadly, his campaign was disrupted by the oil crises of the 1970s. As Third World debt soared, McNamara adopted a new strategy of structural adjustment loans. These loans encouraged developing countries to deregulate their economies, privatise state-owned enterprises and phase out subsidies on fuel, food and health. Such policies evolved into the Washington Consensus, a set of uncompromising neoliberal policies, which were enthusiastically pursued by his successors.

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