The triumph of economic liberalization has coincided with a sharp increase in income inequality.

–Chrystia Freeland


The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., addresses the delegates to the Bretton Woods

Monetary Conference, July 8, 1944.


The foundations of World Bank (WB) were laid down at Bretton Wood Conference along with that of International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1944. Though WB claims that its principal aim is to promote global development and reduce poverty, however, critics see the institution as a tool in the hands of countries that are the major economic powers in the world. They think of the bank as an instrument needed to secure their financial interests through the bank in times when direct colonisation of any nation or state is almost impossible.

After the fall of communism, this financial institution was instrumental in carrying forward the neo-liberal economic agenda of capitalism and its champions all over the world. Whereas the policies of the institute benefited the governments of the global North in the short run, the guidelines of the bank proved disastrous for the governments and people of the global South. Scholars have witnessed a sharp divide within communities and increasing inequality in any given society after adopting WB’s policies.

The negative impact of policies of the WB is visible across countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. As a result of the neo-liberal policies that made life difficult for people in Latin America, indigenous movements sprung up to overthrow the intricate web of neo-liberalism. Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru elected leaders who had their roots among the masses. While resisting the tentacles of capitalism, in words of renowned thinker Tariq Ali, the only place where there is any hope for real democracy lies in Latin America.