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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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Inequality and Redistribution

Inequality and Redistribution

(p.31) 3 Inequality and Redistribution
The Washington Consensus Reconsidered

Paul Krugman

Oxford University Press

At the time John Williamson introduced the famous concept of the ‘Washington Consensus’, discussions of economic inequality did not play a large role in economic debate. The focus instead was on macroeconomic stability and growth, with the assumption that progress on these fronts would benefit everyone. Today, given the evidence of widening inequality in many countries, coupled with disappointments on the growth front, inequality has become a more obviously crucial subject. This chapter summarizes the reasons for a renewed focus on inequality, our (limited) understanding of why it has increased in some developing countries, and what the implications for a ‘post-Washington Consensus’ policy consensus might be. Using Latin America as a case study, it focuses on how Washington Consensus liberalization policies failed to deliver broad-based gains. It concludes that what is now needed is not a reversal of liberalization, but rather deliberate policies such as aid programmes, to help the poor.

Keywords:   economic growth, Latin America, liberalization, import substitution, aid programmes

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