John Williamson, An English Economist

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John Williamson, an English economist, first devised the term ‘Washington Consensus’ in 1989. The term referred to a set of policy prescriptions Williamson thought constituted the “standard” reform package needed to improve developing countries around the world. This reform package was led by Washington-based institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the US Treasury Department and the World Bank. “The term “Washington Consensus”, in the minds of most people around the world, has come to refer to development strategies focusing around privatization, liberalization, and macro-stability (meaning mostly price stability); a set of policies predicated upon a strong faith – stronger than warranted --in unfettered markets and aimed at reducing, or even minimizing, the role of government.” (J. E. Stiglitz, 2004) However after much criticism of all policies surrounding the Washington Consensus (WC), together with evidence of its harmful impact on health, the Post-Washington Consensus(PWC) was developed. This consensus differs fundamentally from the original and was a vast improvement.

At its original creation the Washington consensus did not only reflect views from Washington but also included those of Latin America. The life of the consensus can be traced from a Latin American perspective in the way that it evolves economic development models. There were many consensus-style reforms in Latin America as well as the resemblance of the incompatibility between
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