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Carly’s World


This week’s eWeek column is about former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and the World Bank job she may well get.
It’s a great choice. First, it’s one more way for the Bush Administration to solidify its support among married, career-minded women and for that alone you have to admire its political shrewdness. The World Bank gig is one of the ultimate Washington power jobs; whoever holds it helps determine economic policy around the globe. Fiorina would be the first woman to run the place. That’s a big deal.

She’d also be the first person from outside the East Coast establishment to hold the job. Carly’s a working girl; she never attended Harvard or Yale. She can’t point to a long history of public service in Washington. You only have to glance at the list of past presidents to get the idea.
There are some other interesting aspects to Fiorina’s possible hiring. One, there’s her knowledge of tech. If you know and understand how the Internet works you have a much better appreciation of just how global our economy has become; the rewards for already wealthy nations, the perils for those making their way to developing status and the human costs being paid on both sides of the equation. That understanding is something sorely missing in this administration.
If Fiorina takes the World Bank job it will send a very powerful message about the role that women play in the West to developing countries. Nations like India, China and much of South Asia, once predominantly rural, have expanding and industrializing economies and as they expand, women are joining the workforce. This put them – for the first time – on equal economic footing with their male counterparts. And this change, sudden, dramatic and poorly understood by the East and West is possibly the most important and easily the most over-looked aspect of global economics. Fiorina isn’t going to fix that, of course. But putting a woman’s face on the front of Western aid, Western economic reform and the poverty and development programs the World Bank runs is a step toward coming to grips with the social and cultural shifts created by women’s economic parity.
UPDATE: Over the weekend, Secretary of the Treasury John Snow added U2′s Bono to the list of possible candidates. Yeah. Sure. I can just see Bono settling in to the World Bank’s Washington, D.C. office, moving the wife and kids over from Dublin, giving up rock and roll…It’s safe to consider this weak, silly distraction a sign that Fiorina doesn’t have any real competition and is probably entering the final vetting process as I type.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 3:46 PM | Permalink

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