Washington Consensus

The Washington Consensus is a summary designation of the set of ideas about development policy that dominated the thinking and practice of international financial institutions based in Washington, D.C., in the 1980s and 1990s. Emerging in the heyday of Reaganism and Thatcherism, it represented a turn away from statist approaches and an embrace of market forces. For its many critics, it was synonymous with neoliberalism and market fundamentalism and encapsulated in the mantra of “stabilize, liberalize, and privatize.” Its spearheads became the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, with support provided by the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve. The IMF and the World Bank made many tenets of the Washington Consensus central elements in their prescriptions to developing countries and in the ...

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