2. Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Robert Zoellick
for steely vision at a moment of crisis.
IMF managing director | Washington
World Bank president | Washington
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are the globe's firefighters -- taken for granted until they're desperately needed, as they are now. And their leaders have also done an especially good job explaining how those conflagrations might be prevented next time around.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn's IMF has managed to forestall sovereign defaults in Greece, Hungary, Pakistan, and Ukraine without inspiring much resistance -- in striking contrast to the near-uprisings that accompanied IMF programs during the late 1990s Asian financial crisis. Strauss-Kahn also put his stamp on geopolitics this year, convincing the Germans to step up during Greece's crisis and later working to forestall an international currency war.
As head of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick has stepped into the chaotic aftermath of a harrowing array of unexpected disasters, from the floods in Pakistan to the earthquake in Haiti to the continuing global food crisis, while establishing the bank as a leader in thinking about global trends from combating climate change to democratizing Internet technology.
Both institutions have been especially attuned to the rise of emerging economies. Strauss-Kahn has overseen the redistribution of the IMF's powerful board seats from developed countries to rising powers. And in April, Zoellick bluntly declared the era of the "Third World" over. Countries like Brazil, China, India, and South Africa aren't developing countries anymore; they're independent "poles of growth." Without Strauss-Kahn and Zoellick at the helm, we might not be using the word "growth" at all.
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