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Christiaan Poortman - The World Bank, as you may very well know, is frequently a very controversial agency. We're seen as the bearers of goods and support, but we're also sometimes being put in a corner of institutions that perhaps carry more power than it should and perhaps sometimes even refused from asking or recommending governments and agencies to take measures that are not always seen as being fair or bringing the greatest advantage to the countries we're dealing with.

The World Bank, as you may very well know, is frequently a very controversial agency. We're seen as the bearers of goods and support, but we're also sometimes being put in a corner of institutions that perhaps carry more power than it should and perhaps sometimes even refused from asking or recommending governments and agencies to take measures that are not always seen as being fair or bringing the greatest advantage to the countries we're dealing with.

Christiaan Poortman
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Clyde Prestowitz - It doesn't take any great stretch of the imagination to see what could happen if one of these central bank managers decides to dump dollars. We had a situation recently when a mid-level official at the Central Bank of Korea used the word 'diversification'. It was a throwaway remark at some obscure lunch, but there was instantaneous overreaction. The US stock market fell by 100 points in 15 minutes because the implication was that South Korea might be shifting out of US dollars. So picture this: you have a quiet day in the market and maybe some smart MBA at the Central Bank of Chile or someplace looks at his portfolio and says, 'I got too many dollars here. I'm gonna dump $10 billion'. So he dumps his dollars and suddenly the market thinks, 'My god, this is it!' Of course, the first guy out is OK, but you sure as hell can't afford to be the last guy out. You would then see an immediate cascade effect - a world financial panic on a scale that would dwarf the Great Depression of the 1930s.

It doesn't take any great stretch of the imagination to see what could happen if one of these central bank managers decides to dump dollars. We had a situation recently when a mid-level official at the Central Bank of Korea used the word 'diversification'. It was a throwaway remark at some obscure lunch, but there was instantaneous overreaction. The US stock market fell by 100 points in 15 minutes because the implication was that South Korea might be shifting out of US dollars. So picture this: you have a quiet day in the market and maybe some smart MBA at the Central Bank of Chile or someplace looks at his portfolio and says, 'I got too many dollars here. I'm gonna dump $10 billion'. So he dumps his dollars and suddenly the market thinks, 'My god, this is it!' Of course, the first guy out is OK, but you sure as hell can't afford to be the last guy out. You would then see an immediate cascade effect - a world financial panic on a scale that would dwarf the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Clyde Prestowitz
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