Has Jeffrey Sachs changed his tune...

Carl Remick cremick at rlmnet.com
Tue Sep 15 06:31:10 PDT 1998

...or am I just tone deaf? Just read a piece of his in the current Economist (9/12) "Making It Work," where he emerges as a nemesis of the whole West-o-centric, top-down, model of global economic development. He says that a "G16" (including eight LDC members) should be substituted for the G8, that there should be massive cancellation of external debt in the poorest nations and that developmental aid should shift from short-term loans to outright grants. He says it should be recognized that the IMF/World Bank have no political legitimacy in the developing world, e.g.: "A G16 summit should take up fundamental reform of the international assistance process itself. The aim should be to restore legitimacy to local politics, and abandon the misguided belief that the IMF and World Bank can micro-manage the process of economic reform."

To be sure, he also says: "Developing countries are not trying to overturn Washington's vision of global capitalism, but rather to become productive players in it" -- and that's what he want to help. Nonetheless, Sachs seems to be more fundamentally critical of central institutions of global capitalism than I had been aware. I'm confused. When The Wall Came Down, Sachs struck me as the embodiment of Western arrogance in his meddlesome, market-oriented prescriptions for Russian "reform." When did he become such a bleeding heart?

Carl Remick

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