The World Bank has long been criticized by non-governmental organizations, such as the indigenous rights group Survival International,and academics, including its former Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz, Henry Hazlitt and Ludwig Von Mises. Henry Hazlitt argued that the World Bank along with the monetary system it was designed within would promote world inflation and "a world in which international trade is State-dominated" when they were being advocated.. Stiglitz argue that the so-called free market reform policies which the Bank advocates are often harmful to economic development if implemented badly, too quickly ("shock therapy"), in the wrong sequence or in weak, uncompetitive economies.
One of the strongest criticisms of the World Bank has been the way in which it is governed. While the World Bank represents 186 countries, it is run by a small number of economically powerful countries. These countries (which also provide most of the institution's funding) choose the leadership and senior management of the World Bank, and so their interests dominate the bank.. Titus Alexander argues that the unequal voting power of western countries and the World Bank's role in developing countries makes it similar to the South African Development Bank under apartheid, and therefore a pillar of global apartheid. 
In the 1990s, the World Bank and the IMF forged the Washington Consensus, policies which included deregulation and liberalization of markets, privatization and the downscaling of government. Though the Washington Consensus was conceived as a policy that would best promote development, it was criticized for ignoring equity, employment and how reforms like privatization were carried out. Joseph Stiglitz argued that the Washington Consensus placed too much emphasis on the growth of GDP, and not enough on the permanence of growth or on whether growth contributed to better living standards.
- See Joseph Stiglitz, The Roaring Nineties, Globalization and Its Discontents, and Making Globalization Work.
- Hazlitt, Henry. From Bretton Woods to World Inflation. ISBN 9781610161435.Ludwig Von Mises on Money and Inflation. ISBN 9781933550756.
- MacClancy, Jeremy (2002). Exotic No More: Anthropology on the Front Lines. University Of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-50013-6.
- Woods, Ngaire. The Globalizers: The IMF, the World Bank, and Their Borrowers. Ithica and London: Cornell University Press, 2006, pp.190
- Alexander, Titus (1996). Unravelling Global Apartheid: an overview of world politics. Polity Press. pp. 133 -141].
- Stiglitz, Joseph E. Making Globalization Work. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 2006, pp. 17
- "Criticism of World Trade Organization, World Bank and International Monetary Fund – Editorial". The Ecologist (original), later republished at BNET Business Network. 2000-09. Retrieved 7 October 2007. Check date values in: