Bankspeak of the year 2012

12 February 2013 | Humour

Every year the Bretton Woods Project highlights the best examples of incomprehensible jargon and ridiculous rhetoric from World Bank and IMF staff and financial commentators in the cause of IFI business. This year we celebrate two specimens.

At the June Rio+20 summit, Bank vice-president Rachel Kyte’s impassioned defence of natural capital accounting in the face of criticism that the Bank is perpuating the commodification of nature deserves commendation: “We are not talking about ‘pricing’ nature but ‘valuing’ it”. Kyte might like to check the Oxford English Dictionary definition of “value”: “how much something is worth in money or other goods for which it can be exchanged.”

Another worthy winner is the International Finance Corporation, the Bank’s private sector arm, for so poignantly capturing the logic behind its conscientious $124 million investment in a commercial real estate company in Nigeria that develops “internationally specified, purpose-built mall[s]” to achieve “improvement of food security”.