World Development Vol. 28, No. 5, pp. 789±804, 2000 Ó 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved Printed in Great Britain 0305-750X/00/$ - see front matter
The Rise and Fall of the Washington Consensus as a Paradigm for Developing Countries CHARLES GORE * United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Geneva, Switzerland Summary. Ð The introduction of the Washington Consensus involved not simply a swing from state-led to market-oriented policies, but also a shift in the ways in which development problems were framed and in the types of explanation through which policies were justi®ed. Key changes were the partial globalization of development policy analysis, and a shift from historicism to ahistorical performance assessment. The main challenge to this approach is a latent Southern Consensus, which is apparent in the convergence between East Asian developmentalism and Latin American neostructuralism. The demise of the Washington Consensus is inevitable because its methodology and ideology are in contradiction. Ó 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. Key words Ð development theory, development policies, World Bank/IMF policies
1. INTRODUCTION Developing countries is an international practice. The essence of this practice is the mobilization and allocation of resources, and the design of institutions, to transform national economies and societies, in an orderly way, from a state and status of being less developed to one of being more developed. The agencies engaged in this practice include national governments of less-developed countries, which have adopted ``development'' as a purpose to which State power is put, and governments of richer countries, which disburse ocial development aid to support and in¯uence this process; a variety of non-governmental organizations concerned to animate and channel popular concerns; and international intergovernmental organizations, such as the organs of the United Nations and the World Bank, many of which have been expressly set up to resolve various development problems. Often it is the last group who have acted as the avant-garde of development practice. It is because of their activities, as well as the widespread tendency of governments to copy successful practice elsewhere, that it is appropriate to describe developing countries as an international practice. But it is by no means global in scope. Indeed the practice of developing countries is only done in a particular set of countriesÐthose which in the 1950s and 1960s were generally 789
called ``underdeveloped'' or ``less developed'' countries, but which now generally identify themselves, and are identi®ed by others, as ``developing countries.'' This paper discusses trends in the body of knowledge which guides and justi®es the practice of development. It examines, in particular, the ideas propagated by international development agencies, and focuses on the shift in thinking which occurred in the 1980s with the introduction and widespread adoption of an approach to the practice of developing countries known as the ``Washington Consensus.'' In broad terms, this approach recommends that governments should reform their policies and, in particular: (a) pursue macroeconomic stability by controlling in¯ation and reducing ®scal de®cits; (b) open their economies to the rest of the world through trade and capital account liberalization; and (c) liberalize
* This paper is an extended version of comments made
at the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften Conference on ``Paradigms of Social Change'' held in Berlin on September 3±5, 1998. I would like to thank John Toye, Gabrielle Khler, Richard Kozulo Wright and two anonymous referees for critical comments on an earlier draft. The arguments and interpretations are those of the author. The views expressed do not necessarily re¯ect those of UNCTAD. Final revision accepted: 17 October...
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