Globalization's Contentious "Consensus"

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It is 1989. The Wall comes down, the Cold War is ending, and capitalism is on a roll. Economist John Williamson writes an influential paper describing what he calls “The Washington Consensus: the notion that free trade, deregulation and privatization can drive a ‘one size fits all’ economic agenda for developing countries.”

Flash forward, this past weekend, the IMF and World Bank met in Washington amid growing misgivings about the way these institutions and the U.S. work the globalization gears. Economies are spiraling in places like Argentina, once poster-child for the Consensus prescription, now the face of failure.

As more establishment economists join street protesters and poor countries, calling for a new kind of globalization, what’s happened to the Washington Consensus?


Moises Naim, editor of Foreign Policy magazine

Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize and author of “Globalization and Its Discontents.”

Graham Ingham, of the Economist magazine.