Why is the World Bank so successful? How has it gained power even at moments in history when it seemed likely to fall? This pathbreaking book is the first close examination of the inner workings of the Bank, the foundations of its achievements, its propensity for intensifying the problems it intends to cure, and its remarkable ability to tame criticism and extend its own reach.
Michael Goldman takes us inside World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C., and then to Bank project sites around the globe. He explains how projects funded by the Bank really work and why community activists struggle against the World Bank and its brand of development. Goldman looks at recent ventures in areas such as the environment, human rights, and good governance and reveals howdespite its poor track recordthe World Bank has acquired greater authority and global power than ever before.
The book sheds new light on the World Bank’s role in increasing global inequalities and considers why it has become the central target for anti-globalization movements worldwide. For anyone concerned about globalization and social justice, Imperial Nature is essential reading.
"Simply the best analysis we have of an imperial, hegemonic institution ‘at work’: in this case, the World Bank at work containing, colonizing, co-oping and reformulating environmentalism. Imperial Nature is well-argued, ethnographically subtle, and historically deep. Goldman’s work will be the indispensable point of departure for all subsequent work on ‘green’ neo-liberalism."—James C. Scott, Yale University
"Imperial Nature offers novel insights into the Bank’s methods of valuing nature and orchestrating technologies of governance to legitimize its development regime. Rich case studies, interwoven with intriguing biographies of developers and resisters, ground this engaging account of the Bank’s unrivalled, and yet always fragile, power to produce and monopolize development knowledge."—Philip McMichael, Cornell University