„Recht und Entwicklung“ bei der Weltbank: Eine Kritik

Matthias Ebenau


Schlagwörter: Weltbank, Recht und Entwicklung, Liberalismus, Governance, PRSPs, Indikatoren, J4P


„Law and Development“ at the World Bank: A Critique.


Assuming a critical perspective on „law and development“, this article analyses the World Bank’s contemporary politics in this fi eld. It argues that the better part of its objectives and practices of an „inclusive liberalism“ are marked by a fundamental continuity in regards to the economistic, Eurocentric, as well as market- and businesscentred beliefs of the neoliberal paradigm. Thus, even though the Bank, as part of its governance agenda, is giving greater attention to institutions, the latter are still mainly judged on the basis of their market-supporting qualities. The strategy articulated by the Bank’s Legal Vice Presidency translates this premise into a focus on reforms to secure property and contract rights, as well as judicial independence which, in effect, largely obscures socio-economic confl icts of interest and relationships of domination. The Bank’s current strategy also refl ects on its concrete practice of project fi nancing and, accordingly, writes itself into the political strategies of borrower countries (e.g. in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers – PRSP). On the level of knowledge production, through their one-sided operationalisation, quantitative indicators (e.g. Worldwide Governance Indicators – WGI – and the Doing Business Index – DBI) exert signifi cant influence over political and economic actors and support the legitimisation of the Bank’s practices. While the new Justice for the Poor Program (J4P) represents some noteworthy progressive innovations compared to the Bank’s mainstream practices, ultimately it remains bound to inclusive liberalism and will, thus, probably contribute to paradigm maintenance rather than to progressive transformation.

Keywords: World Bank, law and development, liberalism, governance, PRSPs, indicators, J4P


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