Via Dani Rodrik:
Mr. Lin goes to WashingtonBefore you starting picturing a muscled hulk striding the halls of the World Bank (Taiwan is 130km from the mainland) it's probably worth pointing out that his swim was actually between two small islands of the coast of China (one administered by Taiwan the other by the People's Republic). Still, given the year alone, it speaks of an intriguing life history.
Justin Lin is apparently poised to become the World Bank's next chief economist, following the departure of Francois Bourguignon. LIn is an inspired choice for a number of reasons. First and foremost, this is the first time that the Bank has appointed an economist from a developing world. Second, the appointment recognizes the importance of China. Third, Justin is an institution builder. (I was his guest at the China Center for Economic Research and was very impressed with what he has built there.) Fourth, Justin is a risk-taker. (How else can one interpret his defection to mainland China from Taiwan in 1979 by swimming across the strait?) And Justin is a very good economist on top. All are reasons to be happy about.