Stiglitz on Washington Consensus

Rosser Jr, John Barkley rosserjb at
Tue Jul 28 11:51:52 PDT 1998

Well, Stiglitz is certainly somewhat incomplete. Perhaps he is right that what he has mentioned is what is needed to "make markets work" (and he is right in his critique of the "post-Washington consensus" or whatever it is), but this is no guarantee of a having a "civilized society." At a minimum, some sort of decent social safety net for those damaged in all the upheavals of transition, not to mention the brutalities of the market economy, is necessary. Barkley Rosser On Tue, 28 Jul 1998 13:50:24 -0400 Doug Henwood <dhenwood at> wrote:

> World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz' critique of the Washington
> Consensus - what he calls an emerging post-Washington consensus consensus -
> is available at <>. From his intro:
> >I would like to discuss improvements in our understanding of economic
> >development, in particular the emergence of what is sometimes called the
> >'post-Washington consensus'. My remarks elaborate on two themes. The
> >first is that we have come to a better understanding of what makes
> >markets work well. The Washington consensus held that good economic
> >performance required liberalized trade, macroeconomic stability, and
> >getting prices right (see Williamson 1990). Once the government dealt
> >with these issues - essentially, once the government 'got out of the
> >way' - private markets would allocate resources efficiently and generate
> >robust growth. To be sure, all of these are important for markets to
> >work well: it is very difficult for investors to make good decisions
> >when inflation is running at 100 per cent a year and IS highly variable.
> >But the policies advanced by the Washington consensus are not complete,
> >and they are sometimes misguided. Making markets work requires more than
> >just low inflation; it requires sound financial regulation, competition
> >policy, and policies to facilitate the transfer of technology and to
> >encourage transparency, to cite some fundamental issues neglected by the
> >Washington consensus.
> Doug

-- Rosser Jr, John Barkley rosserjb at

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