World Bank claims to be a cooperative

Yes, it may sound amazing, but the World Bank and the IMF do claim this. The World Bank states that it functions as a kind of cooperative working for its members: “The World Bank is like a cooperative, made up of 188 member countries.” The World Bank is owned by its members and does serve its members, as other cooperatives do. However, each member-country does not participate equally in democratic governance. Each country-member does not have an equal vote (“one member – one vote”), rather votes depend on the amount the member-country has contributed to the World Bank (“weighted system of voting“).

As a result, member-countries with more wealth have more power in the World Bank and other international financial institutions like the IMF: “Five Executive Directors are appointed by the members with the five largest numbers of shares (currently the United States, Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom). China, the Russian Federation, and Saudi Arabia each elects its own Executive Director. The other Executive Directors are elected by the other members.” From the World Bank voting table, the US has nearly 15% of the total voting shares and the next most powerful country, Germany has 4.41% of the total voting shares, while Malawi has 0.09% and Angola has 0.17%. Therefore, given the fact that they do not have “one member – one vote,” the World Bank and the other international financial institutions are not cooperatives.

Are there other reasons why they are not cooperatives? Or should they be considered cooperatives and added to our DC cooperative directory?


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