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The Washington Consensus ReconsideredTowards a New Global Governance$
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Narcís Serra and Joseph E. Stiglitz

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199534081

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199534081.001.0001

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A Short History of the Washington Consensus 1

A Short History of the Washington Consensus 1

(p.14) 2 A Short History of the Washington Consensus1
The Washington Consensus Reconsidered

John Williamson

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the origin of the term ‘Washington Consensus’ to a paper written for a conference in 1989 that aimed to explore how the set of ideas accepted as a basis for policy in developing countries had changed. Ten policies — covering the areas of macroeconomic discipline, microeconomic liberalization, and opening up the economy (globalization) — were asserted to be widely believed in Washington as widely needed in Latin America, and the conference papers were intended to explore the extent of agreement with those propositions in the region. The term subsequently evolved: while some people continued to use it in the original sense, it has also been identified with IMF/World Bank policies (and thus used to embrace capital account convertibility and the bipolar exchange rate doctrine as well as institution-building and anti-corruption policy) and with a belief in market fundamentalism. The chapter argues that this is a very different usage with little support (and certainly not consensus support) in Washington. It concludes by emphasizing that the reforms listed in 1989 are not adequate for the present day, and outlines desirable directions in which to supplement them.

Keywords:   liberalization, globalization, World Bank, IMF, Latin America, anti-corruption policy, capital account convertibility, bipolar exchange rate doctrine, institution-building

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