The joys of self-interest

I think we can all agree that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who would make a better candidate for World Bank president than Paul Wolfowitz. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean a doom and gloom scenario for the future of world poverty. Wolfowitz, in his initial interview since the nomination, pushed a humble, ready-to-listen approach to the Bank job: “I know that in this job, I would be working for them as members of the Bank. I think they’ll find me a good listener, and I know I have a lot that I need to hear and understand.”

He’s no humanitarian, but Wolfowitz may have something many humanitarians don’t: a distinctly selfish drive. Wolfowitz today told the AP>, “I really believe in the mission of the bank, which is reducing poverty. It’s a noble mission and a matter of enlightened self-interest.” If our new World Bank president is noting the concrete connection between the safety and prosperity of the United States and the reduction of poverty worldwide, things might not be as bad as they seem. Perhaps this acknowledgment of self-interest will induce Wolfowitz to push poverty reduction that extra mile. And, if it doesn’t, at least we can selfishly enjoy one less neo-con in the Pentagon.