Post-War Economic Policies for Development: Lauchlin B. Currie and the World Bank in Colombia
Storia del Pensiero Economico, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 73-92, 2005
24 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2005
Recollections of the first years of life of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development insist on its almost natural devotion to the financing of infrastructural and directly productive projects, and in suborder underline the fact that juxtapositions that developed inside the institution were confined to a somewhat theoretical ground, such as the so called project vs. program loans debate.
This frame is in general lines correct, still it is in part misleading to the extent that it hides perhaps more profound disagreements. The changing relations between the Bank and the head of its first general survey mission - Lauchlin B. Currie, head of the Colombia mission, 1949 - clearly suggest that inside the Bank the exclusiveness of a directly productive loans strategy was not accepted without any discussion. In fact, even in the very first 1950s, it was questioned in favour of a broader spectrum of loans - among which for example waterworks and housing loans - which, albeit still sound, had a more visible social side.
Through the analysis of the Colombian case, it can be seen that the economic policy of the Bank toward a developing member country was not significantly influenced by any theoretical debate, but was more related to an ideological position about the very nature of the loans considered, whatever the soundness of an intervention, and whatever its project or program features.
Keywords: World Bank, Lauchlin Currie, Development Economics, Colombia
JEL Classification: B29, B31, O19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation