Top Quotes by James Wolfensohn

The notion of the world as a village is becoming a reality.

James Wolfensohn

You can’t compete globally unless you have appropriate communication skills.

James Wolfensohn

Well the specific role of the World Bank is to be ready with financial assistance immediately after this emergency takes place because you need to reconnect water, you need to reconnect power, you need roads, you need bridges, and that has to be done urgently.

James Wolfensohn

Many people of my generation grew up in developed countries thinking that the world was divided into two parts and that there was a wall round the developed world. They thought that poor people had no relevance to us. What happened on September 11 was that anybody who thought there was a wall now knows that there is no wall.

James Wolfensohn

It is possible to have a public education system that works.

James Wolfensohn

When I travel, I make certain that I spend at least half of my time in the field. You have to get out to meet people that are in poverty, that are looking to improve their lives. That’s something that you can’t read in books.

James Wolfensohn

We have made a full frontal attack on corruption. The question is whether we can address the question of governance in developing countries and, particularly, corruption.

James Wolfensohn

But when someone is on a winning horse, and everything looks wonderful, it’s very hard as an outsider to persuade them something is wrong.

James Wolfensohn

I was deeply concerned then, and have become more concerned since, that unless we can deal with the questions of development and the questions of poverty, there’s no way that we’re going to have a peaceful world for our children.

James Wolfensohn

If you have Palestinians who have no hope, who don’t have a job, who’ve used up all their resources, the notion of getting rid of violence is a dream.

James Wolfensohn

As you look at the flow of Muslim fundamentalism, or fundamentalism in various areas and various religions, they all play on the people who have very little.

James Wolfensohn

We have three billion people, half the world’s population today, living on less than two dollars a day.

James Wolfensohn

So the first thing you need to do about conflict is to prevent it, and the best way of preventing it is by dealing with the question of poverty.

James Wolfensohn

The poor people of the world tend to be the places that al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups can recruit.

James Wolfensohn

You can’t wish away poverty overnight.

James Wolfensohn

The only way really to influence countries, in terms of poverty, is to get them to change their policies and get them to understand what the issues are.

James Wolfensohn

You don’t succeed on corruption in five minutes. I wish one could.

James Wolfensohn

China never borrowed less than $3 billion a year during my tenure. They were the most significant client. They used the Bank not just for money but for the know-how.

James Wolfensohn

The Bank had never used the word ‘corruption’ at all until I got there, and the reason for that was, as the general counsel pointed out to me, that quite a number of our shareholders represented were not immune from corruption in their governments.

James Wolfensohn

My observation on most people in national governments is that they have very little interest in and very little knowledge of the multinational institutions.

James Wolfensohn

I believe and still believe that the Chinese government puts great weight on the experience of the Bank in terms of development.

James Wolfensohn

Most people recognize that to create jobs is really the essential element in their drive against poverty.

James Wolfensohn

It’s probably conventional wisdom now that you bring openness of markets only after the market has developed to a certain level.

James Wolfensohn

I think that so-called capitalism and trade is a very important element in giving people opportunity.

James Wolfensohn

Rebuilding Afghanistan is not going to be solved by pouring billions in. Getting rid of the Taliban does not rid us of the problems of fundamentalism and instability.

James Wolfensohn

I have travelled in the country enough to know that the concerns of villages in Rajasthan will be very different from the issues in the villages of Tamil Nadu. Anybody who makes a general remark about India probably doesn’t know India.

James Wolfensohn

In a democracy, you can be right and still lose power.

James Wolfensohn

If you enter the World Bank office in Washington, D.C., you will see written on the left wall, ‘The purpose of the World Bank is to fight poverty with passion.’ I had it put up there because I wanted something that unites us as an institution.

James Wolfensohn

You need to have a secure Israel, which is very clear, and you need to have a Palestinian community that feels it can have hope.

James Wolfensohn

I’m not at all sure that Israel can determine what happens in Palestine, the Palestinian territories.

James Wolfensohn

I saw it with my own eyes: Israelis and Palestinians, arm in arm, walking off together and clearly pricing how you could get your truck to the top of the line or get it through at all. It was an absolutely transparently corrupt system at the border – you had to buy your truck’s way across. I thought it was a disgrace.

James Wolfensohn

My view is to try and not demonize the Palestinians. I’m not denying that there are Palestinians who fire rockets and do terrible things; I know that that happens. But to get a fundamental solution, you have to have hope on both sides.

James Wolfensohn

The interesting thing about debt in most cases is that you have to pay it back. So if you build an overhang of debt, it becomes more and more limiting in terms of the prospect that you have.

James Wolfensohn