cover image Mortgaging Earth CL

Mortgaging Earth CL

Bruce Rich. Beacon Press (MA), $16 (376pp) ISBN 978-0-8070-4704-0

The World Bank, the largest single source of financial and economic assistance in the world, was founded in 1946 to alleviate poverty and promote development . Rich, senior attorney at the Environmental Defense Fund, charges that today's Bank is institutionally debased and intellectually corrupt. His well-documented indictment focuses on the Bank's record in regard to the environment, citing Bank-supported projects that ignore end-use efficiency, conservation and local social organizations. Rich examines projects in the largest borrowing countries: transmigration in Indonesia; dams in India; deforestation, dams and roads in Brazil. These projects force the displacement of millions of impoverished people. Rich argues that the story is repeated in Africa, Malaysia and Thailand. He argues that global environmental management fails because there are no global solutions, only local ones. Rich points to such agencies as Inter-American, the African Development Foundation, Appropriate Technology International and Oxfam as organizations that take a more sensible, effective local approach to development than does the World Bank. This expose deserves a wide readership. (Feb.)