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Dictator worship

The World Bank and many development experts are wedded to the myth that autocrats are good for growth

By William Easterly   April 2014

A statue of former Turkmenistan dictator Saparmurat Niyazov ©Robert Preston/Age Fotostock/Superstock

The President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, visited China in 2012. While there, he spoke of China’s economic success in delivering “on truly aspirational goals,” and went on to announce a World Bank programme to spread “practical knowledge from China’s successes in reducing poverty.” More recently, the World Bank’s report on China’s future, “China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative Society,” closed with a sentence giving credit for positive results to the Chinese leadership, celebrating their “wisdom, strength, and…

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