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Charter Cities Podcast Episode 20: Development, Jim Wolfensohn, and The World Bank with Sebastian Mallaby

We speak to Jim Wolfensohn on development and Sebastian Mallaby on the World Bank. Listen to learn about this and more.

Today we sit with Sebastian Mallaby, a successful author and esteemed Senior Fellow for International Economics at the Council of Foreign Relations. He has also been a contributing columnist for The Washington Post and previously served on the editorial board. To open the show, we put Sebastian’s career into a nutshell before asking him to expand on his background. He tells us about some of his earliest memories as a young roving correspondent in Africa, cutting his teeth in journalism for The Economist. We go on to talk to Sebastian about the World Bank and discover facts about its inception and the evolution of its role since 1944. He discusses some of the World Bank’s constraints before turning his attention to former president of the World Bank, Jim Wolfensohn. Listeners will learn about the life and times of Jim as a human being and as a global leader. Dissecting Jim’s achievements, Sebastian analyses Jim’s structural adjustment programs and comments on the American-Australian’s charisma and knack for communication. In the latter half of the show, we talk about the benefits of the Ease of Doing Business Index and find out Sebastian’s stance on the matter. We continue our conversation and hear from Sebastian on how the world has changed since he published his book in 2004, as he contrasts between the classical left-vs.-right and modern populist-vs.-technocratic divisions. To find out more from Sebastian, his thoughts on Jim Wolfensohn, and the position of the World Bank, be sure to join us today.

Transcript (edited for clarity):

Mark: Hello and welcome to the Charter Cities Podcast. I’m your host, Mark Lutter, the founder and executive director of the Charter Cities institute. On the Charter Cities Podcast we illuminate the various aspects of building a charter city, from governance to urban planning, politics to finance. We hope listeners to the Charter Cities Podcast will come away with a deep understanding of Charter Cities as well as the steps necessary to build them. You can subscribe and learn more about Charter Cities at Follow us on social media, CCIdotCity on Twitter, and Charter Cities Institute on Facebook. Thank you for listening.

[This transcript will be made available in the coming days.]

Mark: Thank you for listening to the Charter Cities Podcast. For more information about this episode and our guest, to subscribe to the show or to connect with the Charter Cities Institute, please visit Follow us on social media, CCIdotCity on Twitter and Charter Cities Institute on Facebook. I’m your host, Mark Lutter, and thank you for listening to the Charter Cities Podcast.

Links mentioned in today’s episode:

Sebastian Mallaby on Twitter

Sebastian Mallaby on LinkedIn

Jim Wolfensohn

The World Bank

Carnegie Hall

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank


Robert McNamara

Robert Zoellick

Paul Romer

Stanford University

Alan Greenspan

Tyler Cowen

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of the New Elite

The Man Who Knew: The Life & Times of Alan Greenspan

The Washington Post

The Economist

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