Sunday, December 27, 2009

The World Bank and Stimulus Funding

Today marks the 64th anniversary of the founding of the World Bank. There is an interesting connection between this anniversary and President Obama's stimulus package.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were created via the efforts of the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944 which took place at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The Mount Washington Hotel is a beautiful place but an international conference like the one in 1944 would be impossible to hold there today because of the lack of available bandwidth at the hotel for Internet access, cell phone coverage, etc.

That deficiency is about to change as Bretton Woods Telephone was awarded one of the first broadband stimulus grants and loans made under the Recovery Act (aka the Stimulus Bill). Bretton Woods' application was just one of 18 out of hundreds of applications that were approved for the first round of money. What makes the tiny Bretton Woods Telephone company so special? They have less than 1,000 access lines. The one thing they have that makes them special is the Mount Washington Hotel.

After seeing that Bretton Woods Telephone was picked from so many applications that would have benefited much greater population bases, I have to admit that my first thought was that President Obama was planning a Bretton Woods Conference of his own. Could he be planning something new for the World Bank or the IMF? If so - Bretton Woods would be the correct historical backdrop. And by the time the conference is announced - the Mount Washington Hotel should have the bandwidth needed to host such a conference.

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