Benn Steil


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Is the BRICS Bank More “Democratic” Than the World Bank?

by Benn Steil and Dinah Walker
July 23, 2014


The launch of the new BRICS development bank “reflects the disparity and democratic deficiency in the global governance and is trying to restart, to rethink that,” according to Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz.  But is the BRICS bank really more “democratic” than the World Bank, whose governance legitimacy its founders are challenging?

As the Geo-Graphic above shows, the voting share of the World Bank’s founding members has fallen over the years from 100% to 49.7%.  This means that its 37 founders currently have less voting power than the five BRICS bank founders will ever have within their new institution.  That’s because the BRICS bank articles of agreement do not allow the founders’ voting share to fall below 55% – ever, no matter what the bank’s future membership looks like.

This is like saying that immigrants can have the vote, but only until they become 45% of the population – then they cap out.

Where’s the democracy in that?

Geo-Graphics: Hurling BRICS at the World Bank and the $
RT: How the West Created BRICS New Development Bank
Wall Street Journal: Five Things to Know About the New BRICS Bank
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development: Subscriptions and Voting Power of Member Countries


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Read about Benn’s latest award-winning book, The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order, which the Financial Times has called “a triumph of economic and diplomatic history.”

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