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What Should the World Bank Think about the Washington Consensus?

  • Williamson, John

The phrase "Washington Consensus" has become a familiar term in development policy circles in recent years, but it is now used in several different senses, causing a great deal of confusion. In this article the author distinguishes between his original meaning as a summary of the lowest common denominator of policy advice addressed by the Washington-based institutions (including the World Bank) and subsequent use of the term to signify neoliberal or market fundamentalist policies. He argues that the latter policies could not be expected to provide an effective framework for combating poverty but that the original advice is still broadly valid. The article discusses alternative ways of addressing the confusion. It argues that any policy manifesto designed to eliminate poverty needs to go beyond the original version but concludes by cautioning that no consensus on a wider agenda currently exists. Copyright 2000 by Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal World Bank Research Observer.

Volume (Year): 15 (2000)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 251-64

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:15:y:2000:i:2:p:251-64
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