"Today, you have 20 percent of the world controlling 80 percent of the Gross Domestic Product; you've got a $30 trillion (US) world economy, and $24 trillion of it is in the developed countries... These inequities can't exist. So if you are talking about systemic breakdown, I think you have to look in terms of social breakdown." - James Wolfensohn
"Too many of the conflicts which are caused today are caused by the problems that emerge from people who are in poverty." - James Wolfensohn
"I’m haunted every day by what I did as an economic hit man (EHM). I’m haunted by the lies I told back then about the World Bank. I’m haunted by the ways in which that bank, its sister organizations, and I empowered US corporations to spread their cancerous tentacles across the planet. I’m haunted by the payoffs to the leaders of poor countries, the blackmail, and the threats that if they resisted, if they refused to accept loans that would enslave their countries in debt, the CIA’s jackals would overthrow or assassinate them. I wake up sometimes to the horrifying images of heads of state, friends of mine, who died violent deaths because they refused to betray their people. Like Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth, I try to scrub the blood from my hands. But the blood is merely a symptom." - John Perkins
Former World Bank President: Big Shift Coming
James Wolfensohn, former president of The World Bank and CEO of Wolfensohn and Co., addressed Stanford Graduate School of Business students with details about his work at the World Bank during its transition years and how the equation between developed and developing countries is changing. Wolfensohn claimed that in the next 40 years, a global power shift will see today's leading economic countries drop from having 80% of the world's income to 35%
The Global Economy in the Wake of Financial Crisis
James Wolfensohn discusses the changing global economy in a post-financial crisis world, highlighting the rise of Asia and other developing countries. Wolfensohn, former president of the World Bank, begins with an overview of the changing balance of global economic power. The so-called "rich" nations, beginning with the G7, could not stabilize the shaky post-financial crisis economy without the developing countries, especially China, India, and Brazil, which are experiencing rapid economic growth. Wolfensohn discusses the expansion of the G7 to the G20 and describes China and India's projected economic dominance.Wolfensohn discusses the role of the U.S. in a newly competitive global landscape, noting that increasing national debt will become a significant problem if the U.S. does not become more fiscally responsible. Further, to remain competitive, the U.S. must fundamentally reform its education system. Wolfensohn also describes the role of Africa, which is experiencing slower economic growth than Asia, and its importance to the global economy as a matter of social justice, peace, balance, and opportunity. Last, Wolfensohn answers questions about how individuals can effect change in the U.S.; the role of the World Bank; Brazil's economy and natural resources; corruption in Africa; economic growth and governance in China versus India; the future of the European Union; and American military expenditure and action.