Timmy elsewhere

At the ASI.

The interesting thing about the Washington Consensus is that this horrible neo-liberalism actually seems to be working in reducing poverty in Africa.

Quite beyond me why so many people are campaigning to get rid of it really.

5 comments on “Timmy elsewhere

  1. ‘Spose it depends what your purposes are .

    To you, they’re to use appropriate methods to help the poor of Africa.
    To them, it’s to use the poor of Africa to help their methods.
    The more poor there are in Africa the better the prospects for the charities. Why would they want to reduce them?

  2. The chief problem in Africa is the senseless violence that persists in the society. Violent crime is very common there, and the root cause of the economic woes. Criminals are seldom brought to justice.

  3. The chief problem is people who think that ‘something should be done’ about Africa. Particularly when coupled with the belief that it should be they that do so, and when they are encouraged by being given money for such.

    I’m sure the people of Africa are perfectly capable of working out what should be done, and should be left to do so. Particularly if it bears no particular resemblance to what clueless westerners think should be done.

  4. Tim,

    What other research are you drawing on in the ASI piece? Sala-i-Martin does not mention the Washington Consensus, as far as I can see.

    I thought the ’90s Sub-Saharan African reforms were not generally regarded as a great success, e.g. what is your opinion of the WB’s own 05 report, “Economic Growth in the 1990s: Learning from a Decade of Reform”? It doesn’t seem anywhere near as confident in its assessment of what “works” in development: “The central message of this volume is that there is no unique universal set of rules”. Well, duh. The Spence report—which the WB published in 2008, and which attempts to locate a replacement doctrine for the agency—junks the whole enterprise in favour of moderate agnosticism.

    Personally, the thing that bothers me about the Washington Consensus is not that the individual prescriptions are bad per se–they are not (except perhaps capital account liberalisation), but that is precisely the problem. They are platitudes rather than a coherent development programme. Policy makers do not get to simply tick boxes reading “engage with global economy”, “favour market incentives”, “maintain stable macroeconomic regime”, call it a day and do laps, stopping only to pick up awards and give the odd speech at the CFR. The Consensus is vague as hell–a laundry list of once trendy soundbites. Basically, government by catechism. Universal solutions to universal problems—one size fits all. But even if the catechism is relatively inoffensive, it isn’t much more rational than praying or voodoo. And surely we can all agree that whatever development policy needs, it isn’t that.

  5. The chief problem in Africa, or at least the part I’m sitting in, is the propensity for any one person to fuck over the next given the slightest opportunity*. Without cooperation, people don’t develop.

    *Ditto Russia.

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