Sei sulla pagina 1di 46

Dispensa per le lezioni del corso

“Economia delle aree sottosviluppate”


Anno accademico 2008-2009

Renata Targetti Lenti

Sommario
Parte I, Le politiche di aiuto allo sviluppo della Banca Mondiale. Washington e post-
Washington Consensus.
Parte II, Le politiche di gestione delle crisi da parte del Fondo Monetario
Internazionale. Gli effetti delle condizionalità imposte dalle Istituzioni Finanziarie
Internazionali.
Parte III, Le critiche al Washington Consensus. La posizione di Stiglitz, di Rodrik, di
Kuczynski e Williamson.
Parte IV, La posizione di Kanbur e il Rapporto della “Commission on Growth and
Development”.

Parte I,
Le politiche di aiuto allo sviluppo della Banca Mondiale. Washington e post-
Washington Consensus.

1. 1 Introduzione: la creazione delle principali Istituzioni Internazionali.


Nel 1944 a Bretton Wood, cittadina dello Stato del New Hampshire (USA), i delegati
di Stati Uniti, Regno Unito ed altri 42 paesi si riunirono (tra l’1 ed il 22 luglio) per
creare le Istituzioni che avrebbero dovuto instaurare un nuovo ordine economico
internazionale. Vennero così create le Nazioni Unite che comprendono la maggior
parte delle agenzie e degli organismi che operano nel campo della cooperazione allo
sviluppo. Queste istituzioni vengono anche definite "organismi multilaterali" in
quanto rappresentano contemporaneamente molti paesi e quando una nazione ha delle
relazioni con questi organismi è come se le avesse con tutti i paesi che ne fanno parte.
Queste Istituzioni sono oggi classificabili in: 1) Organismi ed Agenzie
dell’Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite (ONU); 2) Istituzioni di regolamentazione
del commercio internazionale come il “General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
(GATT) che nel 1998 si è trasformato nel “World Trade Organization” (WTO); 3)
Istituzioni finanziarie come il Fondo Monetario Internazionale (FMI), la Banca
Mondiale (BM). Questo processo di progressiva creazione di un sistema
sovranazionale di monitoraggio ed intervento è proseguito con la costituzione nel
1961 dell’Organizzazione per la Cooperazione e lo Sviluppo (OCSE) ed ha raggiunto
la forma più avanzata di integrazione economica, sociale e politica con la formazione
della Unione Economica e Monetaria (UEM) avviata nel 1992 grazie al trattato di
Maastricht. La costituzione della Banca Centrale Europea e l’adozione dell’euro (a
partire dal gennaio 2002) da parte di molti paesi membri della Comunità Europea
(Italia, Francia, Germania, Spagna, Portogallo, Grecia, Belgio, Lussemburgo, Irlanda,
Austria, Olanda, Finlandia) costituiscono due momenti essenziali di questo processo
(si veda l’Appendice A1).
Due Istituzioni, in particolare, all’interno del sistema delle Nazioni Unite, hanno
avuto fin dall’inizio compiti di natura finanziaria: l’International Monetary Fund

1
(FMI) e la World Bank (BM). Questi due organismi erano stati creati per assicurare la
stabilità del sistema economico internazionale (FMI) e per reperire le risorse
finanziarie necessarie alla ricostruzione postbellica dei paesi europei (BM).
Successivamente, già a partire dalla fine degli anni 50, la loro azione è stata diretta
quasi esclusivamente verso i paesi in via di sviluppo, con l’obiettivo di promuovere la
loro crescita economica e di prevenire eventuali crisi finanziarie locali e/o
internazionali e, dalla caduta del muro di Berlino, verso le economie socialiste per
favorirne la transizione verso l’economia di mercato.
L’attività del FMI e della BM si è via concentrata a favore di quei paesi che accettano
di promuovere programmi di riforme e di riduzione della povertà, e che si impegnano
a creare istituzioni finanziarie trasparenti, efficienti, solide in grado di stimolare la
formazione interna di risparmio. Negli ultimi venti anni la concessione di tali crediti è
stata vincolata all'adozione di specifiche politiche di stabilizzazione e/o
aggiustamento strutturale (le cosiddette conditionalities) per assicurare un contesto
macroeconomico favorevole a politiche sia di riduzione degli squilibri
macroeconomici che di crescita. Queste politiche sono state nel corso del tempo, ed in
particolare in questi ultimi anni, oggetto di critiche ed attacchi anche aspri. Le
principali carenze possono essere sintetizzate nella scarsa efficacia ed
all’inadeguatezza nel raggiungere gli obiettivi prefissati.
Pur appartenendo al sistema delle Nazioni Unite il Fondo Monetario e la Banca
Mondiale godono di una totale indipendenza rispetto all'Assemblea Generale.
L'Accordo Istitutivo per la loro costituzione acquisì efficacia nel 1945. Attualmente
gli Stati membri di quese due organizzazioni sono 185.

1.2 Struttura ed organizzazione della Banca Mondiale (BM).


La struttura organizzativa della Banca Mondiale è simile a quella del Fondo. La
Banca Mondiale ha un Presidente, tradizionalmente nominato dal Presidente degli
Stati Uniti e ratificato dal Consiglio dei Direttori Esecutivi (attualmente è Robert
Zoellick, l’ultimo è stato Paul Wolfowitz, il penultimo James Wolfehnson). Gli
"azionisti" sono i governi dei paesi membri dell'istituzione stessa in quanto
sottoscrittori delle quote di capitale. I rappresentanti dei paesi membri, che formano il
Board of Governors, si radunano due volte l'anno per prendere decisioni sulle linee
strategiche dell'istituzione. Le decisioni quotidiane sulle strategie di assistenza ai vari
paesi, l'approvazione dei prestiti, e le decisioni di gestione sono prese da un Board of
Executive Directors con 24 membri, in cui i paesi membri sono rappresentati in
proporzione alle quote di capitale versate. I 5 paesi che hanno versato le quote
maggiori (Stati Uniti, Giappone, Germania, Francia e Regno Unito) hanno un
rappresentante stabile designato; i paesi che hanno versato quote piccole hanno un
unico rappresentante per tanti paesi e sono eletti a rotazione (per esempio, ci sono due
direttori esecutivi per tutta l'Africa sub-Sahariana).
In base all'atto istitutivo (del 27 dicembre 1945) la Banca Mondiale doveva favorire la
ricostruzione e lo sviluppo dei territori dei paesi membri facilitando l'investimento di
capitale a scopi produttivi; promuovere l'investimento privato estero, fornendo
garanzie o partecipando a prestiti; integrare l'investimento privato, erogando, a
condizioni più favorevoli di quelle di mercato, risorse finanziarie da destinare a scopi
produttivi..
Gli obiettivi della Banca Mondiale sono chiaramente espressi dall'Articolo I dell'Atto
di Adesione alla Banca da parte dei singoli governi (con le modifiche introdotte ed
entrate in vigore dal 16 febbraio 1989). La Banca Mondiale accorda prestiti a lungo
termine, garanzie ed assistenza tecnica per aiutare i Paesi in via di sviluppo ad

2
implementare politiche di riduzione della povertà. I finanziamenti della Banca sono
utilizzati in diversi settori, dalla sanità, all'educazione, ai progetti ambientali ed
infrastrutturali (che comprendono la costruzione di dighe, strade e parchi naturali).
Oltre ai finanziamenti veri e propri la Banca Mondiale fornisce assistenza e consigli ai
Paesi in via di sviluppo su tutti gli aspetti dello sviluppo economico.
Il gruppo Banca Mondiale è composto da 5 Agenzie: The International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development (IBRD); The International Development
Association (IDA, creata nel 1960); The International Finance Corporation (IFC); The
Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); The International Centre for the
Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
La Banca Mondiale in senso stretto, e cioè la Banca per la Ricostruzione e lo Sviluppo
(IBRD) agisce come un intermediario finanziario raccogliendo fondi nei paesi
industrializzati e concedendo prestiti ai paesi in difficoltà a reddito medio, che siano
in grado di prendere a prestito a tassi vicini a quelli di mercato (principalmente in
America Latina, Asia dell'Est ed Europa dell’Est). Statutariamente la Banca Mondiale
eroga prestiti sia a governi che ad enti ed imprese pubbliche (anche se raramente), con
l'obiettivo di finanziare specifici progetti o mettere in atto un insieme di politiche.
Prima di accordare un prestito, consulenti ed esperti della Banca valutano se il
potenziale beneficiario sia in grado di soddisfare le condizioni richieste. Queste sono,
per la maggior parte, intese ad assicurare che i prestiti vengano impiegati
proficuamente e che possano essere rimborsati.
Per quello che riguarda i finanziamenti per progetto, la Banca pone come condizioni
generali che il beneficiario, per quel particolare progetto, non possa ottenere un
finanziamento presso nessun'altra fonte sul mercato; inoltre, esige che il progetto sia
tecnicamente realizzabile ed economicamente remunerativo. Per garantire il rimborso,
gli stati membri devono farsi garanti dei prestiti concessi ad enti o imprese all'interno
dei loro territori. Una volta erogato il prestito, la Banca richiede al mutuatario e ai
propri osservatori resoconti periodici sull'utilizzo del prestito e sull'andamento del
progetto. Per un approfondimento si rimanda all’Appendice A1 e A2.

1.3 Il ruolo della Banca Mondiale nell’economia internazionale.


Le politiche e le attività della Banca Mondiale sono state - e sono - oggetto anche di
aspre critiche da parte di numerose Organizzazioni non governative (ONG), da parte
di alcuni economisti e, talvolta, anche da parte di alcune voci interne alla stessa
Banca. L'accusa rivolta alla Banca Mondiale è quella di essere un Organizzazione
sostanzialmente assoggettata ai paesi occidentali, ed in particolare agli Stati Uniti per
imporre ai Paesi in Via di Sviluppo (PVS) politiche economiche a supporto e ad
esclusivo beneficio degli interessi occidentali. Queste politiche, d’altra parte, si sono
rivelate in molti casi poco efficaci ed inadeguate nel raggiungere gli obiettivi
prefissati.
Gli interventi della Banca Mondiale si sono modificati nel corso degli anni in
relazione non solo ai diversi obiettivi, ma anche in relazione ai modelli ed alle teorie
del sottosviluppo che si andavano via via elaborando. Questa Istituzione ha
progressivamente ampliato i suoi compiti divenendo nel corso del tempo il più
importante centro di analisi e di formulazione di politiche per promuovere lo sviluppo
economico e per ridurre la povertà. Our dream: a World free of poverty sono le parole
con cui si apre oggi il sito della Banca Mondiale.
In un primo periodo (anni 60) l’impostazione seguita dalla Banca Mondiale per la
selezione dei progetti da finanziare è stata quello dei “banchieri” nel senso che veniva
privilegiato il finanziamento di singoli progetti in relazione anche al tasso di

3
rendimento atteso. La condizione per concedere l’aiuto era che i progetti fossero
“meritevoli”. Il concetto di “fungibilità dell’aiuto”, e cioè la sostituzione da parte dei
singoli Governi di interventi prioritari con altri meno urgenti resa possibile dai
finanziamenti da parte della Banca, mette ben presto in discussione questo tipo di
politica. In questo periodo le politiche si basano su modelli keynesiani o neoclassici
(aggregati). Lo sviluppo economico coincide con la crescita del reddito pro-capite ed
il principale fattore di sviluppo è individuato nell'accumulazione di capitale fisico.
Una distribuzione del reddito a favore dei profitti è considerata alla base di una sorta
di circolo virtuoso, e cioè di un effetto di sgocciolamento (trikling-down).
A partire dall’inizio degli anni 70 la Banca Mondiale diventa una vera e propria
Agenzia di sviluppo, per l’identificazione, la negoziazione e la supervisione dei
progetti. In questo periodo gli interventi sono diretti prevalentemente nel settore delle
infrastrutture e delle public utilities (centrali elettriche e sistemi di trasporto) per
favorire il processo di industrializzazione. Essa assume il ruolo di “catalizzatore” di
progetti e fonte di assistenza tecnica. Una buona parte degli interventi è diretta verso il
settore agricolo.
I risultati in termini di crescita e di riduzione della povertà, tuttavia, mostrano ben
presto l’inadeguatezza di politiche basate esclusivamente sull’accumulazione del
capitale fisico. Gli effetti attesi di diffusione dei benefici di un più o meno sostenuto
aumento del reddito pro capite a tutto il sistema economico, ed in particolare a favore
dei gruppi più poveri, in realtà non si erano verificati. I due obiettivi prioritari degli
interventi diventano, allora, quelli di ridurre la povertà e la diseguaglianza nella
distribuzione personale del reddito e di cercare di rendere compatibili politiche di
redistribuzione del reddito con la crescita. Si modifica la natura degli interventi che
vengono diretti verso il soddisfacimento dei bisogni di base come la sanità,
l’educazione, l’alimentazione (teoria dei basic needs).
I due shocks petroliferi (nel 1973-74 e nel 1979) avevano prodotto una situazione di
“stagflazione” e di elevato indebitamento nei PVS. Vengono messi in discussione i
vecchi modelli. Per frenare i processi inflazionistici e per ridurre la domanda
aggregata si ricorre ad un rialzo dei tassi di interesse. Gli effetti negativi sui paesi
debitori sono immediati. Aumentava il peso del debito estero contratto dai PVS. Nello
stesso tempo il rallentamento del tasso di crescita dei paesi industrializzati provoca
una contrazione nella domanda di materie prime (per molti paesi debitori la principale
fonte di ricavi da esportazione) e di conseguenza i prezzi delle stesse. Cresce in questo
periodo il rapporto debito/esportazioni.
Molti paesi, ed in particolare quelli dell’America Latina, al fine di proteggere
l’industria nazionale e consentirne lo sviluppo avevano adottato politiche di
sostituzione delle importazioni (America Latina). La protezione che i governi
offrivano alle imprese locali doveva permettere alle stesse imprese locali di sviluppare
delle proprie capacità tecnologiche, commerciali ed organizzative. Gli strumenti
erano: l’imposizione di dazi che fanno aumentare il prezzo dei beni importati;
meccanismi di razionamento della valuta (le banche venivano cioè autorizzate a
cedere valuta estera solo a determinate categorie di operatori: importatori di beni di
prima necessità e di beni capitale avevano la precedenza sugli importatori di beni di
consumo, sempre ammesso che questi ultimi avessero accesso ad una qualche quantità
di valuta); quote di importazione, cioè concessione da parte governativa di licenze di
importazione a determinati soggetti e per determinate quantità di determinati beni;
credito agevolato.
Conseguenze negative: corruzione e la connivenza; stagnazione della produttività del
lavoro ed una progressiva erosione della quota esportata sul totale del commercio

4
mondiale, cioè una perdita di competitività; la strategia di sostituzione delle
importazioni è di carattere statico; provoca una riduzione del benessere complessivo
della società (penalizza consumatori). A ciò si aggiunga che la proprietà pubblica
dell’apparato produttivo si era molto diffusa non solo per favorire la creazione di
infrastrutture, ma anche per sopperire alla carenza di imprenditori privati. Diventa
consistente il peso del settore pubblico (proprietà pubblica di una larga parte
dell’apparato produttivo) nell’economiaÆfavorire le economie esterne.
Una strategia di sostituzione delle importazioni deve essere temporanea. Gli strumenti
tipici di una strategia di sostituzione delle importazioni (dazi, credito agevolato, ecc.)
possono funzionare se previsti soltanto per un certo periodo e accompagnati da altre
politiche ed altri incentivi (nel caso sud coreano, per esempio, i profitti realizzati
grazie alla protezione non potevano essere esportati, ma reinvestiti per ottenere,
questa volta, prodotti idonei ad essere esportati secondo certi target quantitativi).
Proprio quesi paesi che avevano perseguito una strategia di sostituzione delle
importazioni sperimentarono serie difficoltà esterne a partire dagli inizi degli anni 80.
Alcuni di essi giunsero ad una vera e propria crisi di insolvenza (il Messico per primo
nel 1982). Viene abbandonato il modello protezionistico e di controllo dell’economia
da parte del settore pubblico fino ad allora perseguito. Si afferma un nuovo modello
basato sulla liberalizzazione del mercato e degli scambi. Da parte del Fondo
Monetario e della Banca Mondiale si suggeriscono politiche di stabilizzazione e di
aggiustamento degli squilibri macroeconomici (disavanzo della Bilancia dei
Pagamenti e del bilancio dello Stato). L’erogazione dei fondi viene condizionata al
fatto che i PVS adottino politiche macroeconomiche virtuose (condizionalità
economiche). Si verifica una convergenza negli interventi del FMI e della BM. Da
una parte il Fondo Monetario si sposta dagli interventi di breve a quelli di medio
periodo stimolando l’adozione di riforme strutturali. Dall’altra la Banca Mondiale si
sposta da strategie a lungo termine a quelle a medio termine. Il Fondo concentra la
propria azione sugli aspetti macro (bilancio, moneta, tassi di cambio). La Banca
Mondiale concentra la propria azione sugli interventi di natura settoriale (trasporti,
energia, commercio, agricoltura).
Si afferma il cosiddetto approccio monetario alla Bilancia dei pagamenti. L’obiettivo
è quello di ridurre uno dei principali squilibri macroeconomici (il disavanzo nella
Bilancia dei Pagamenti) attraverso una politica monetaria restrittiva. La
stabilizzazione ed il rialzo nei tassi d’interesse dovrebbe frenare l’uscita di capitali e
trattenere le riserve internazionali. Anche la politica fiscale diviene restrittiva
(riduzione delle spese correnti e degli investimenti) al fine di ridurre il disavanzo del
settore pubblico. Il primo ed immediato effetto è la crescita della disoccupazione.
Questo effetto è aggravato dalle politiche di riduzione delle spese di natura sociale,
che hanno conseguenze sui redditi monetari. Le politiche d'aggiustamento, poi,
richiedono un deprezzamento del tasso di cambio ed una crescita dei prezzi dei beni
tradeable (importati) al fine di ridurre le importazioni. In molti casi si tratta di beni
che entrano nel paniere di consumo delle classi lavoratrici (più povere), così che si
determina un immediata perdita di benessere in termini reali. Devono essere
introdotti dei safety nets per il sostegno dei redditi dei poveri.
Nel lungo periodo, poi, si verificano effetti sul tasso di crescita che dipendono dalle
reazioni dei lavoratori in termini di offerta di lavoro, dal mutamento nelle tecnologie
(si fa l'ipotesi che il settore dei tradeable adotti tecniche caratterizzate da una maggior
intensità di lavoro), e dalla caduta del tasso di investimento conseguente alla riduzione
delle importazioni di beni capitali.
Un secondo gruppo di politiche suggerite dal Fondo e dalla Banca Mondiale a partire

5
dalla fine degli anni 80 sono quelle note come politiche di aggiustamento strutturale.
Esse consistono nella progressiva liberalizzazione di tutti i mercati. In primo luogo si
suggerisce di liberalizzare il mercato estero mediante l’eliminazione del
protezionismo ed una progressiva liberalizzazione dei movimenti di capitale.
Privatizzazione dell’apparato produttivo e liberalizzazione dei movimenti di capitale
erano e sono scelte quasi necessariamente complementari dal momento che in assenza
di un mercato interno sufficientemente vasto bisogna permettere che ad acquistare le
azioni sia il capitale straniero.

1.4 Il Washington Consensus. Il contesto storico negli anni 80 e 90.


In 1989 John Williamson coined the term “Washington Consensus”. The intellectual
history of this term over the past two decades is intimately tied in with the economic
history of this period, just as its origins were tied to the economic history of the
1980s. The term and its meanings have also interacted with a broader interpretation of
economic development—in particular, how government policies and interventions can
help or harm development. Accordng to Kanbur (2008) the Washington Consensus,
the development theory, and actual economic policy and outcomes, have all co-
evolved over the past twenty years, each influencing and being influenced by the
others.
The sixty years since the end of the second-world-war have seen cycles of consensus
among the economists on the meaning of development and on the nature of
development policies to sustain growth. The center of gravity of where to locate
economic policies along the non-neo-liberal to neo-liberal continuum, from “left” to
“right”, and in what combinations, has moved first one way and then another.
Until the end of the 80s economists and policy makers were convinced that
governments were able to stimulate growth and to expand production capacity
through policies. The development strategies of developing countries focused on
accelerating the rate of capital accumulation and of technological change. From the
theoretical point of view the dominating growth models were the Harrod Domar ad
the Solow model. At the end of the 80s this opinion was totally reversed. The cost of
government failures appeared to be considerably larger than the cost of market
failures. Government interventions interfered with development.
The quarter century after the second-world-war saw the peak of the inward-oriented,
state-oriented development paradigm driven by an acceptance of the pervasiveness of
market failures (or non-existence of many markets) in developing countries. Export
pessimism was the rationale for import-substitution strategies.
The policies that governments used in order to guide the resource allocation and to
sustain long-term growth were: i) import substitution; ii) state-owned enterprises; iii)
controls over the financial sector; iv) central planning; v) a variety of price controls;
vi) state interventions in the economy. The justification for an active intervention of
the State were the following: 1) inflation can help to mobilize resources from the
wealthy elite who resisted to more efficient forms of taxation; 2) States owned
enterprises can promote investments in manufacturing, particularly in capital-
intensive industries; 3) price controls did not have serious economic consequences
because the concentration of wealth precludes the reallocation of resources in
response to changes in demand.
The perceived success of Keynesian policies in restoring full employment in the
industrialized west after prolonged high unemployment in the 1930s, and of the Soviet
Union in transforming itself from an agrarian nation at the time of the communist
revolution to an industrial power in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, was the spur to setting up

6
of the Indian Five Year Plans, with their objectives of aggregate demand management
and heavy investment in State industries behind walls of tariff protection.
The newly independent countries in Africa followed a similar path, setting up
marketing boards as purchasing and selling intermediaries to protect their farmers
from the vagaries of world market prices and the perceived exploitation by
middlemen traders, a range of state controlled industries to process raw material, and
more.
Agencies like the World Bank, surprising though it may seem today, were in full
support of such strategies. After all, Keynes designed the International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development as a publicly owned entity to mediate between
sources of finance (essentially, Wall Street), and European and Japanese infrastructure
reconstruction. As attention shifted from reconstruction of Europe and Japan to the
development of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the statist thrust
remained.
The World Bank financed many of the state enterprises that were producing behind
import barriers in countries that emerged from successive waves of the post-war
decolonization. Economic growth rates in Asia, Africa and Latin America were
creditable by historical standards and, in countries like Brazil, remarkably high. The
statist approach of the 1940s and 1950s was not without its critics—for its
insensitivity to distributional issues, that is. The emphasis on heavy industry,
whatever its impact on investment and on economic growth, was argued to be not
helping the poor.
The 1980s began with the reverberations of the second OPEC oil shock. They ended
with the fall of the Berlin wall. In between, we had the Reagan-Thatcher-Kohl
economic policy era in North America and Europe, the Volcker interest rate shock,
the Latin American debt crisis, collapse in Africa, the start of rapid growth in China
and in India, and on and on.
At the beginning of the 1980s there was a swing away from postwar Keynesianism in
Europe and North America, which had its own political economic logic. As the first
OPEC oil shock of 1973 and then the second OPEC oil shock of 1979 worked their
way through the system they led to severe balance of payments difficulties for non-oil
exporting countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The US Federal Reserve,
under Paul Volcker, raised interest rates dramatically to squeeze inflation out of the
system in the US, with a resultant rise in the dollar. But this led to unsustainable debt
repayment burdens (mostly dollar denominated) for many countries in Latin America,
with a debt crisis and a generalized macroeconomic crisis in those countries and
several others with heavy exposure to external debt. The macroeconomic crises of
developing countries had an inextricable external dimension. The immediate crisis
was one of lack of foreign exchange to service debts and purchase imports.
In this context, trade liberalization was advanced as a solution to generate foreign
exchange through exports. The crisis arguments meshed with longer term arguments
on the efficacy of inward looking versus outward oriented development strategies.
Where necessary, the case was bolstered further by the argument that such a strategy
would increase demand for unskilled labor and hence unskilled wages, as had
happened in East Asia. But the main thrust of the argument was that integration into
the global economy was the best strategy for economic growth, and growth was the
best route to poverty reduction.
Then came 1989, the fall of the Berlin wall, and the triumphalism of “the end of
history”. This was the culmination of the general pressure for reducing the role of the
state in the economy. The 1990s and 2000s have been eventful as the 1980s,

7
including: an acceleration in global integration in trade and financial flows, “shock
therapy” in the formerly communist countries, the East Asian financial crisis, rapid
growth in a number of Asian countries and spectacular growth in China with perhaps
the most dramatic reduction in income poverty in history, sharp increases in inequality
in rapidly growing countries, and so on.
In India key price controls were abolished. After a period of political instability, in
1991 major external liberalization measures were announced, and the gradual opening
of the Indian economy was undertaken during the eighth Fiver Year plan period
(1992-97).
In Africa, external liberalization was undertaken, the most obvious indicator of which
was the freeing of the exchange rate from controls and rationing in most of Eastern
and Southern Africa, and gradual removal of quantitative trade restrictions and
lowering of tariffs. In Latin America, similar external sector liberalizations were
undertaken. In all countries, the debt burden meant significant austerity in public
sector budgets as balance was sought between revenue and expenditure. In the
formerly communist transition economies of Eastern Europe, the early 1990s saw
regimes of “shock therapy” as economies were opened up and privatized “at a stroke.”
The 1980s and 1990s also saw the opening up and integration of China into the global
economy (formally, the Chinese process began in 1978). While politically communist,
China increasingly took on the characteristics of a market economy, with peasants
being allowed to keep what they produced, inward foreign investment, and
spectacular increases in exports, investment and economic growth. At least 200
million Chinese have been lifted out of income poverty since the opening up began in
1978, perhaps the most dramatic reduction in poverty in history.
Thus during the 1980s and 1990s the economic development interpretation took a
distinct turn away from the previous consensus among the economic policy making
elites.

1.5 The conventional wisdom in the 90: the Washington Consensus (Williamson,
1990, 2004).
For more than four decades, development was seen (at least by economists belonging
to the "mainstream") as mainly a matter of economics. Increasing the capital stock
(either through transfers from abroad or through higher savings rates at home) and
improving the allocation of resources were considered the way to promote higher and
sustained growth rates. Less developed countries were portrayed to be identical to the
more developed countries, except perhaps in the extent of the inefficiencies in
resource allocations (which, in turn, were related to the greater incidence or laking or
malfunctioning of the markets).
Economists’ views differed in policy prescriptions, that is on what policies could
improve resource allocation, and what role government should play. For economists
belonging to mainstream the solution was to improve markets functioning, and in
particular, the elimination of government imposed distortions associated with
protectionism, government subsidies, and government ownership. The replacement of
the traditional economic development strategy with a simple code of rules as
privatisizing and liberalizing international trade and capital flows, has been
considered the solution for many underdeveloped countries and mainly for Latin
American countries. Distributional issues were left only to the working of the market
and any redistributive initiative were seen as either likely to “distort” the market or to
scare investors.

8
At the beginning of the 1990s, most economists working on development and many
policy makers shared the conviction that: i) containing the role of the public sector in
the economy, reducing its use of resources, and limiting its discretion were essential
for promoting and accelerating economic growth. There was a growing evidence that
the State discretionality that was inherent in growth strategies based on infant
industry, import substitution policies, and the growth of public enterprises had been
captured by narrow interest groups, and become a source of endemic corruption; ii)
only a more efficient use of resources would lead to growth; iii) Reforms had to be
rapid.
These principles were the basis for the so called Washington Consensus. These goals
could be obtained with: i) macroeconomic stability and balance in public and external
budget; ii) domestic liberalization, privatization; iii) opening the economy and
outward orientation; iv) reduction of tariffs and other restrictions on imports; v)
freeing market incentives and eliminating controls on prices; vi) realignment of
exchange rates to eliminate black market premia; vii) deregulation of interest rates
and liberalization of the financial sector.
The story of the Washington Consensus dates back to 1989, when the press in the
United States was still talking about how Latin American countries were unwilling to
undertake the reforms that might give them a chance to escape the debt crisis. It
seemed to me that this was a misconception and that, in fact, a sea change in attitudes
toward economic policy was occurring. To determine whether this was correct, the
Institute for International Economics decided to convene a conference at which
authors from 10 Latin American nations would present papers detailing what had been
happening in their respective countries.
The term “Washington Consensus” was coined in 1989. The first written usage was in
a background paper for a conference held at the Institute for International Economics
by John Williamson in order to examine the extent to which the old ideas of
development economics that had governed economic development policy since the
1950s were being swept aside by the set of ideas that had long been accepted as
appropriate within the OECD. Williamson (1990, 2003) specifies that the
“Washington” of the Washington consensus is “both the political Washington of
Congress and senior members of the administration and the technocratic Washington
of the international financial institutions, the economic agencies of the US
government, the Federal Reserve Board, and the think tanks”.
This author made a list of ten policies that he thought more or less everyone in
Washington would agree were needed more or less everywhere in developing
countries, and labelled this the “Washington Consensus”:
Fiscal discipline. This was in the context of a region where almost all the countries
had run large deficits that led to balance of payments crises and were experiencing
high inflation that hit mainly the poor because the rich could park their money abroad.
Reordering public expenditure priorities. This suggested switching expenditure, in a
progrowth and propoor way, from things like nonmerit subsidies to basic health care,
education, and infrastructure.
Tax reform. The aim was a tax system that would combine a broad tax base with
moderate marginal tax rates.
Liberalization of interest rates. In retrospect, I wish I had formulated this more
broadly as financial liberalization, stressed that views differed on how fast it should
be achieved, and recognized the importance of accompanying financial liberalization
with prudential supervision.

9
A competitive exchange rate. I fear I indulged in wishful thinking in asserting that
there was a consensus in favor of ensuring that the exchange rate would be
competitive, which implies an intermediate regime; in fact, Washington was already
beginning to edge toward the two-corner doctrine, which holds that a country must
either fix firmly or float “cleanly.”
Trade liberalization. I acknowledged that there was a difference of view about how
fast trade should be liberalized, but everyone agreed that this was the appropriate
direction in which to move.
Liberalization of inward foreign direct investment. I specifically did not include
comprehensive capital account liberalization because I did not believe that it
commanded a consensus in Washington.
Privatization. This was the one area in which what originated as a neoliberal idea won
broad acceptance. We have since been made very conscious that it matters a lot how
privatization is done: it can be a highly corrupt process that transfers assets to a
privileged elite for a fraction of their true value, but the evidence is that privatization
brings benefits (especially in terms of improved service) when done properly, and the
privatized enterprise either sells into a competitive market or is properly regulated.
Deregulation. This focused specifically on easing barriers to entry and exit, not on
abolishing safety or environmental regulations (or regulations governing prices in a
noncompetitive industry).
Property rights. This was primarily about providing the informal sector with the
ability to gain property rights at an acceptable cost.
The first question to ask is: Why this term has progressively become the centre of a
“fierce ideological controversy”? Why it is been interpreted by some critics (Stiglitz
and Rodrik) as as interchangeable with “neo-liberal” or “market fundamentalism”?.
What explains the evolution of the term from its meaning as originally coined, to
representing one side of an ideological divide which influenced much of the
development analysis in the 1990s?
According to Kanbur something strange happened. The transformation of the meaning
must be explained. Some points of the original list could not be labelled neo-liberal.
For example: i) “Reordering public expenditure priorities” to switch towards basic
health care and education was number 2 in the original list of 10. ii) While
liberalization of trade and foreign direct investment was on the list, capital account
liberalization was not. iii)“Deregulation” did not include the abolition of safety or
environmental regulations, or of regulation of prices in non-competitive industries.
Kanbur in 1999 offered the following explanation, based on his operational
experience within the World Bank. The Washington Consensus became what it did,
not what it said. First of all the positions espoused, by representatives of Washington
institutions were not as nuanced as Williamson's original or more recent formulations.
No doubt that in the 1980s, and to a certain extent well into the 1990s, many saw the
main task as being storming the citadel of statist development strategies.
Moreover, Washington institutions were deeply suspicious of the real intentions of
those they were dealing with. They suspected, perhaps rightly, that those on the other
side were hell bent on preserving the status quo. In this setting, a negotiating stance,
rather than a dialogue based on mutual comprehension, was appropriate. So the
negotiators from Washington always took a more purist stance, a more extreme stance
than even their own intellectual framework permitted (they were all surely well
schooled in the theory of the second best).
What matters is not so much the label but the content, and on that there is little
disagreement. Development strategies, broadly construed, can be put on a spectrum,

10
with less market orientation, less integration into the world economy, more regulation
of economic activity, greater role for public provision of social services, more
redistribution, etc., at one end; and the opposite at the other end. Many different terms
can be used, but perhaps the “left” and “right” end of the spectrum is best descriptive
of the linear representation adopted above, as well as suggestive of political
orientation. An important point, however, is that what we have in terms of policy
space is a continuum—it is not a case of one or the other, but rather one of having a
combination of policies whose center of gravity is closer to one end rather than the
other. How have these combinations changed during the last two decades after the
birth of the Washington consensus?

1.6 A decade of reforms in the 1990s.


There was more privatization, deregulation and trade liberalization in Latin America
and Eastern Europe than probably anywhere else at any point in economic history. In
Sub-Saharan Africa governments moved with less conviction and speed, but there too
a substantial portion of the new policy agenda was adopted: state marketing boards
were dismantled, inflation reduced, trade opened up, and significant amounts of
privatization undertaken. Such was the enthusiasm for reform in many of these
countries that Williamson’s original list of do’s and don’ts came to look remarkably
tame and innocuous by comparison. In particular, financial liberalization and opening
up to international capital flows went much farther than what Williamson had
anticipated (or thought prudent) from the vantage point of the late 1980s.
To assume that the World Bank and the IMF have brought "growth-enhancing
policies" to their client countries goes against the overwhelming weight of the
evidence over the last two decades. The attempt to apply universal economic "laws" –
concerning trade, capital flows, privatisation, the size and scope of government –
failed to cope with the problems of economic development. By any measure of
economic performance, the last two decades have shown these rigid applications of
orthodox economic theory to be a failure.
The Bank and Fund researchers should be trying to discover what has gone wrong.
And most importantly, they should allow governments to pursue their own, country-
specific paths to growth and development. Attempts to formulate development
strategies specific to the needs of individual countries have been supplanted with
simple, rigid formulas promoting openness to foreign trade and investment,
overlytight monetary policies, and "structural adjustment" policies that often cause
unnecessary economic harm. For most of the world's developing countries, the 1990s
were a decade of frustration and disappointment.
Many countries (80) accepted the deregulation’s policies suggested by the World
Bank. Prices become indicators of scarcity. Protectionism was reduced, overvaluation
of exchange rate was eliminated. The one thing that is generally agreed on about the
consequences of these reforms is that things have not quite worked out the way they
were intended. Even their most ardent supporters now concede that growth has been
below expectations in Latin America (and the “transition crisis” deeper and more
sustained than expected in former socialist economies). Not only were success stories
in Sub-Saharan Africa few and far in between, but the market-oriented reforms of the
1990s proved ill-suited to deal with the growing public health emergency in which the
continent became embroiled.
Countries following the Washington Consensus closely are scarcely to be found in the
list of the best growth performers. Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa have

11
stagnated in terms of growth per capita. This decline in growth has occurred
throughout the vast majority of developing countries. These declines in growth
represent an enormous difference in living standards as compared to what was
considered normal and feasible in the past. Latin American countries were buffeted by
a never-ending series of boom-and-bust cycles in capital markets and experienced
growth rates significantly below their historical averages.
The "fiscal discipline" – and much more harmful, monetary discipline – imposed by
markets has been extolled and reinforced. Fiscal austerity and restrictive monetary
policy failed completely in both Russia and Brazil in 1998-99, where both currencies
collapsed and, contrary to the arguments and predictions of the IMF that this would be
an economic disaster, both economies responded positively to the devaluation with
Russia registering its most rapid growth in two decades.
The suggested policies have led to – or exacerbated –economic crises as in the Asian,
Brazilian, and Russian cases over the last three years. Russia – following a shock
strategy incorporating liberalisation, stabilisation and privatisation which was more in
line with the Consensus – failed. The financial crisis become evident in 1998.
Argentina, to take another example, which followed the ideas of the Washington
Consensus (at least to a large extent), can hardly be considered a success either.
The failure of the last two decades also shows up in a substantial decline in the major
social indicators. For almost all groups of countries, there was considerably reduced
progress in life expectancy, infant and child mortality, measures of education, and
literacy in the past two decades, as compared with the period from 1960-1980. Most
of the former socialist economies ended the decade at lower levels of per-capita
income than they started it—and even in the rare successes, such as Poland, poverty
rates remained higher than under communism.
On the opposite side most East and South Asian developing economies have in recent
decades exhibited strong growth. East Asian economies such as South Korea and
Thailand which had been hailed previously as "miracles," were dealt a humiliating
blow in the financial crisis of 1997. During the Asian financial crisis, the government
of Malaysia rejected IMF loans and conditions, and opted for the unorthodox measure
of currency controls (rather than using exorbitant interest rates, as high as 80 percent
in Indonesia, to attempt to stop the depreciation of the local currency). Neither the
bond markets nor the Fund were pleased with this policy. But Malaysia suffered less
of an economic contraction than the other affected countries, and it appears that the
currency controls helped.
First, the East Asia crisis of 1997 was a major blow to those who were arguing for
rapid capital account opening to move further to the “right” along the spectrum. In
any event, the East Asia crisis led to a reconsideration of financial flows
liberalization, with the result that even the IMF is now more cautious in advocating
this move. The debate on this among economists was interesting because they were
split. It is not surprising that those who were generally skeptical of a strong move to
the “right”, such as Stiglitz (2002) would oppose capital account liberalization.
What might surprise some is that economists like Jagdish Bhagwati, a staunch
supporter of trade liberalization and of foreign direct investment, was equally strongly
against the hasty liberalization of financial flows that was advocated, encouraged and
sometimes imposed in the 1980s and 1990s. Bhagwati’s position is worth quoting at
length as an antidote to the simplistic classifications one sometimes finds of “pro” or
“anti” free market positions.
“Starting in Thailand in the summer of 1997, the Asian financial crisis swept through
Indonesia, Malaysia, and South Korea, turning the region’s economic miracle into a

12
debacle….The crisis, precipitated by panic-fueled outflows of capital, was a product
of hasty and imprudent financial liberalization, almost always under foreign pressure,
allowing free international flows of short-term capital without adequate attention to
the potentially potent downside of such globalization.......It is hard not to conclude
that the motivation underlying these specious explanations is a desire to continue to
maintain ideological positions in favor of a policy of free capital flows or to escape
responsibility for playing a central role in pushing for what one might aptly call
gung-ho international financial capitalism.” (Bhagwati, 2004, pp. 199-200)
The second set of “facts on the ground” which posed a challenge to the emerging
consensus on economic policy for development in the 1990s was the disastrous
experience of most transition economies of Eastern Europe. It was suggested
humorously by some that the “shock therapy” of rapid privatization and quick
integration into the world economy was “more shock than therapy.” These economies
underwent exactly the opposite of the East Asian miracle of the 1960s and 1970s—
instead of growth with equity they had economic decline with increasing inequality.
This outcome was attributed, by many economists, like Stiglitz (2002), and by the
populations of these countries, to an overly radical move from a statist past to a
market oriented future without regulatory safeguards and without safety nets. These
economies are only now recovering from economic decline, some two decades after
the transition began, and the inequalities introduced into the system by rapid
privatization are now part of the economic and political structure of countries like
Russia.
Third, more generally, many countries in Africa and Latin America which followed
the prescriptions of greater trade openness and greater reliance on markets did not
reap the growth benefits that were expected for them. Even those which grew, like
Ghana, found the results to be short of what had been promised. But many in Latin
America in particular had slow growth rates, leading to entire decades being described
as “lost.”
Fourth, the rapid growth of India and China, and the recognition that these countries
have not followed the neo-liberal prescriptions has influenced the discourse. Both
countries have adopted a more outward oriented development strategy than in the
past—China since the 1980s, India since the 1990s. But both countries maintained
controls on capital flows, and as a result escaped the repercussions of the East Asian
crisis. China has deployed its internal financial system to maintaining an undervalued
exchange rate, a key reason for its dramatic export performance. And both countries
have continued to use domestic redistribution to address rising inequality.
The fifth set of outcomes is in fact the sharp increases in inequality within rapidly
growing countries over the past twenty years. Whether it is China, India, Bangladesh,
Vietnam, Russia, Ghana, South Africa, Mexico, etc etc, and in contrast to the East
Asian experience of the 1960s and 1970s, rapid growth seems to be accompanied by
rising inequality. This has been matched by rising inequality within OECD countries,
as the post-war phase of the “the great compression” of skilled-unskilled wage
differentials ended in the 1980s and economic returns to skills and education began to
increase dramatically. For developing countries, even when official poverty statistics
have come down because of rapid growth, distributional concerns persist in society
and policy makers.
In India in 2004, a party with the slogan “India Shining” was defeated by a party with
the slogan “The Common Man”, leading, for example, to the National Rural
Employment Guarantee Act, which introduced a massive public works scheme
designed to address low incomes in rural areas. In South Africa, the post-apartheid

13
euphoria has been dampened by rising inequalities, including within the black
population. In Latin America, a wave of populist leaders has been elected on the
strength of concerns about rising inequality and vulnerability. In China, even if there
is no formal western style democracy, and even with a brilliant performance on
growth and poverty reduction, policy makers are worried about growing disparities
between people and between regions. They have begun to intensify redistributive
measures. China, which recorded some the highest growth rates in world history over
the last 20 years, maintains strict currency controls, considerable protection of its
domestic consumer markets, and its financial system is dominated by state-owned
banks.
The mismatch between predictions and results, and the successes of China, India, and
Vietnam who did not followed the Washington prescriptions suggest some
explanations: i) the reforms were not sufficiently ambitious; ii) there was incoherence
in the implementation of policies; iii) the role of Institutions was neglected; iv) State
enterprises were privatized without much attention to the operation of the markets in
which they would function; v) financial liberalization swelled the resources that
ineffective intermediaries channeled to state enterprises and related borrowers,
contributing to the massive crises.
At one side Argentina’s bad performance teaches that fixed exchange regimes require
a very demanding set of conditions. A deeper lesson is that rigid rules are no
substitute for credibility, and that government’s discretion needs to be checked, not
replaced with rules.
These and other developments in the last two decades, particularly in the last decade,
have led to considerable rethinking in the economic development theory and policy.
“The end of history lasted for such a short time.” A number of outcomes in the 1980s
and 1990s led to a modification of the center of gravity of the consensus along the
spectrum from “right” to “left” again.
Does this mean there is a new consensus?. The debate on more effective development
policies can be articulated in at least four different streams: 1) the Stiglitz critics
which led to the so called “Post-Washington Consensus; 2) The “Augmented
Washington Consensus” due to Rodrik; 3) “After the Washington Consensus” as a
new agenda for restarting growth and Reforms in Latin America according to
Kuczynski and Williamson; 4) An agenda for restarting growth according to Kanbur
and the “Commission on Growth”.

14
Parte II, Le politiche di gestione delle crisi da parte del Fondo Monetario
Internazionale. Gli effetti delle condizionalità imposte dalle Istituzioni
Finanziarie Internazionali.

2.1.1 Il Fondo Monetario Internazionale (FMI): struttura organizzativa e


strumenti di intervento.
Gli organi principali del FMI sono il Consiglio dei Governatori (Board of Governors)
a composizione plenaria, il Consiglio Esecutivo (Executive Board), composto dai 24
Direttori Esecutivi (Executive Directors) e il Direttore Operativo (Managing
Director). Quest’ultimo, solitamente un europeo, è il direttore del Fondo (attualmente
è Dominique Strauss-Kahn succeduto nel settembre 2007 a Rodrigo Rato). Il
Consiglio dei Governatori si riunisce di norma una volta l'anno e le sue funzioni sono
in gran parte delegate al Consiglio Esecutivo, che siede permanentemente. Dei
membri del Consiglio Esecutivo 5 sono permanenti e appartengono ai 5 Stati che
detengono la quota maggiore (Stati Uniti, Giappone, Germania, Francia e Regno
Unito) mentre gli altri sono eletti dal Consiglio dei Governatori sulla base di un
sistema di raggruppamenti di nazioni (non necessariamente su base regionale). Il
Direttore Operativo viene eletto dal Consiglio Esecutivo e lo presiede. Esiste poi un
Joint Ministerial Committee of the Boards of Governors of the Bank and the Fund che
ha come scopo il coordinamento dei finanziamenti ai paesi in via di sviluppo.
Il FMI dispone di un capitale messo a disposizione dai suoi membri e il voto
all'interno dei suoi organi è ponderato a seconda della quota detenuta. Questo fa sì
che, considerato che per prendere le decisioni più importanti sono necessarie
maggioranze molto alte (2/3 o i 3/4 dei voti) gli Stati Uniti e il gruppo dei principali
paesi dell’Unione Europea si trovano ad avere un potere di veto di fatto, presi
singolarmente (nel caso della maggioranza dei 3/4) o insieme (maggioranza dei 2/3).
I rappresentanti dei diversi paesi non appartengono al corpo diplomatico ma vengono
designati dai rispettivi ministeri del Tesoro, ed hanno un potere di voto
sostanzialmente proporzionale al contributo finanziario del paese all'organismo e cioè
alle cosiddette quote. Prevale dunque nella soluzione delle crisi e nelle decisioni di
finanziamento l’interesse dei paesi economicamente più forti (Stati Uniti, Europa) a
scapito di quelli più deboli e cioè dei Paesi in Via di Sviluppo (PVS).
Le quote sono versate al FMI e sono misurate in Diritti Speciali di Prelievo (un SDR
=1,32 dollari circa) e in parte in valuta nazionale. La quota misura anche i massimali
che il paese membro può prendere a prestito dal FMI a seconda delle diverse linee di
credito (di solito un paese può prendere a prestito dal 300% al 500% della proprio
quota). Per esempio gli executive directors italiani (che rappresentano anche Malta,
Portogallo, Albania, Grecia, San Marino e Cipro) hanno il 4.23% dei voti totali del
Board of Executive Directors. Il rappresentante americano invece, visto che il suo
paese contribuisce in maniera più cospicua ha oltre il 17% delle quote di voto; il
Giappone e la Germania poco più del 6%, la Francia e l’Inghilterra poco sopra il 5%.
L’intera America Latina arriva solo al 4.5%.
Nell'articolo 1 dell'Accordo Istitutivo gli scopi del FMI erano così definiti: 1)
promuovere la cooperazione monetaria internazionale; 2) facilitare l'espansione del
commercio internazionale; 3) promuovere la stabilità e l'ordine dei rapporti di cambio,
evitando svalutazioni competitive; 4) dare fiducia agli Stati membri rendendo
disponibili, con adeguate garanzie, le risorse del Fondo per affrontare difficoltà della
bilancia dei pagamenti; 5) in relazione con i fini di cui sopra, abbreviare la durata e
ridurre la misura degli squilibri delle bilance dei pagamenti degli Stati membri.

15
Oltre a monitorare il sistema economico internazionale per preservarne la stabilità e
favorirne la crescita il Fondo agisce anche come un intermediario finanziario
raccogliendo fondi nei paesi industrializzati e concedendo prestiti ai paesi in
difficoltà, ed in particolare ai paesi in via di sviluppo. Il controllo sui flussi finanziari
internazionali esercitato dal Fondo è superiore di quanto possa apparire
dall’ammontare dei prestiti direttamente gestiti. Infatti anche le altre linee di credito
concesse dalla Banca Mondiale, da altre istituzioni multilaterali e da parte di
Istituzioni private sono soggette all’approvazione del Fondo.
Il sistema progettato a Bretton Woods si basava su rapporti di cambio fissi tra le
valute, tutte agganciate al dollaro il quale a sua volta era agganciato all'oro. Questo
sistema crollò con la sospensione del gold standard (vale a dire la convertibilità del
dollaro in oro) da parte di Richard Nixon nel 1971. Si è così modificato il ruolo del
loFMI, che oggi si occupa per lo più di concedere prestiti agli Stati membri in caso di
squilibrio della bilancia dei pagamenti. I paesi che oggi ricorrono al FMI sono quasi
esclusivamente i PVS. Il FMI si occupa anche della ristrutturazione del debito estero
dei paesi in via di sviluppo altamente indebitati.
Il FMI svolge anche compiti di assistenza tecnica per assistenza nella costruzione
dell’apparato Istituzionale.Ha pure una funzione di raccolta e di elaborazione di dati
statistici.
Il FMI presta direttamente e funge da catalizzatore di prestiti concessi da altri enti
pubblici e privati. Il tasso di interesse è una media di quelli di mercato a breve
termine, minore di quelli prevalenti sul mercato. Le forme di concessione dei prestiti
sono:
1) Stand-by arrangements (sba) per deficit temporanei o ciclici rimborsabili in
5 anni.
2) Extended Fund Facility (EFF) qualora la causa sia strutturale rimborsabili
in 10 anni.
3) Supplemental Reserve Facility (Srf) per soccorrere paesi che sono incorsi in
una crisi finanziaria in analogia al caso della banca centrale di un paese e
cioè come “prestatore di ultima istanza”.
4) Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (Prgf) per sostenere programmi di
riforma e riduzione della povertà nei pvs. Il tasso d’interesse è solo lo 0,5%.
Questi interventi di natura sociale e istituzionalesono stati messi in
discussione dalla commissione Malan.
5) Oil Facility istituita nel 1974 con fondi supplementari a quelli ordinari per
far fronte alle esigenze di credito generate dalla crescita dei prezzi del
petrolio ed evitare l’aggravarsi della recessione.
6) Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (Saf) creata nel 1986 come
Structural Adjustment Facility e rafforzata nel 1987. I prestiti concessi sotto
questa forma sono a tassi molto favorevoli ed a lungo termine, finanziati
con fondi separate per aiutare i pvs ad introdurre riforme di natura
strutturale. Da allora questo è diventato lo strumento principale per aiutare
i pvs più poveri.
7) Emergency Financing Mechanism (Efm) creato nel 1995 è una procedura
d’emergenza per approvare in tempi più rapidi del normale i prestiti a paesi
in crisi.

I flussi di credito concessi direttamente dal FMI e dalla BM ai paesi in via di sviluppo
sono modesti in relazione a quelli globali, ma restano molto rilevanti per i paesi
riceventi. Basti ricordare che il flusso di capitali privati verso i PVS è cresciuto nel

16
tempo (arrivando ai 167 miliardi del 1995), ma circa il 75% è andato solo a 9 paesi
(Cina, Corea, Malesia, Indonesia, Tailandia, India, Messico, Brasile, Argentina).
Inoltre l’impegno dei paesi OCDE è oggi lo 0,3% del PIL ben lontano dal previsto
0,7%.

2.2 Le politiche del FMI nella gestione delle crisi finanziarie.


L’indebitamento estero può essere generato da uno squilibrio nel bilancio pubblico e/o
da un afflusso di capitali per colmare il divario tra risparmio interno ed investimenti.
L’afflusso di capitali molto spesso è di tipo speculativo per ottenere rendimenti dai
differenziali di cambio e/o di tasso d’interesse. Essendo un investimento a breve viene
ritirato quando peggiorano le aspettative (moneta calda). Si deve aggiungere che
spesso le istituzioni finanziarie nazionali sono state inadeguate a fare da tramite tra
finanziamenti a breve ed in valuta straniera ed impieghi interni a lungo termine ed in
valuta nazionale
Gli effetti dell’afflusso di capitale dipendono dal regime di cambio. Se il cambio è
fisso, in assenza di sterilizzazione, cresce la liquidità interna e l’inflazione. Misure
restrittive fanno crescere il tasso d’interesse interno e la convenienza ad indebitarsi
ulteriormente all’estero. Qualora il paese decida di svalutare il peso del debito estero
può divenire insostenibile. Nella crisi messicana del 1994 il pesos perse rispetto al
dollaro metà del suo valore in 2 settimane.
Non potendo comprimere la spesa pubblica le tre vie seguite per far fronte ad una crisi
da debito estero sono state: 1) aumentare l’indebitamento per pagare i creditori, 2)
dichiarare default sul debito, 3) ottenere prestiti dal FMI. Quest’ultima politica di
“salvataggio” costituiva un disincentivo a praticare politiche virtuose. La quasi
sicurezza di tale politica poteva incentivare un maggior afflusso di capitali da parte
dei privati innescando un circolo vizioso.
Il contagio della crisi da un paese all’altro si propaga attraverso due canali: 1)
commerciali; 2 ) finanziari.
Le principali crisi sono state: Messico nel 1994-95, Asia Orientale nel 1997 (Corea
del Sud, Indonesia e Tailandia), Russia nel 1998, Brasile nel 1998-99, Argentina nel
2001. I fattori scatenanti sono stati: moneta calda, cambio sopravvalutato, sistema
bancario e finanziario interno fragile, politiche errate e ritardi nelle riforme strutturali.
Il FMI ha coordinato gli aiuti oltre ad intervenire direttamente.
A cavallo tra gli anni ‘70 e gli anni ’80 si era modificato radicalmente il contesto
internazionale. I primi anni 80 furono caratterizzati da una significativo aumento del
tasso di interesse negli USA (a causa di politiche monetarie restrittive e fiscali
espansive) che provocarono una rivalutazione del dollaro. Solamente nel 1985 grazie
ad interventi concordati sul mercato dei cambi il dollaro cominciò a svalutarsi. Nel
1987 venne il dollaro venne stabilizzato grazie all’adozione di politiche coordinate:
restrittive negli USA ed espansive in Europa ed in Giappone.
Gli anni 80 furono caratterizzati anche dalle prime crisi finanziarie dei pvs. La prima
nel 1982 scoppiò in Messico. All’origine vi era il deterioramento delle ragioni di
scambio a causa dei precedenti shocks petroliferi, la crescita dell’indebitamento
estero, l’aumento della liquidità del sistema bancario USA, e la crescita del costo del
debito conseguente all’aumento dei tassi di interesse. In generale le crisi negli anni 80.
sono scoppiate in seguito all’eccessivo indebitamento estero del paese che rendeva
troppo oneroso il pagamento degli interessi e ed il rimborso delle quote di capitale ai
creditori. Il debito molto spesso consisteva in titoli obbligazionari collocati presso
investitori privati espressi per lo più in dollari.
Le crisi furono gestite dal FMI imponendo una ristrutturazione del debito e

17
l’accettazione di politiche restrittive. Le conseguenze di queste politiche in termini di
caduta del reddito e di aumento della disoccupazione sono note come “decennio
perduto”. Il FMI fu accusato di avere imposto politiche di aggiustamento rivolte più
ad assicurare la restituzione dei debiti, salvaguardando le banche americane, che a
ristabilire le condizioni per la crescita.
Anche se è difficile distinguere i fattori che hanno portato alla crisi nei diversi paesi
non v’è dubbio che alcuni di questi effetti siano riconducibili alle politiche di
aggiustamento strutturale (America Latina) e di gestione delle crisi finanziarie
(Russia, Sud-Est Asiatico) suggerite dal Fondo Monetario e dalla Banca Mondiale. In
Asia il Fondo ha imposto una politica monetaria e fiscale molto restrittiva (tasso
d’interesse pari all’80% in Indonesia). Si può affermare che il Fondo abbia contribuito
alla crisi incoraggiando l’apertura dei mercati finanziari a ingenti afflussi di capitali
dall’estero a breve termine. Questi flussi uscirono dall’area non appena la crisi si
manifestò.
In Russia il Fondo Monetario ha insistito nel mantenere un tasso di cambio
sopravalutato favorendo la crescita dei tassi d’interesse (fino al 150%). E’ così
cresciuto l’indebitamento verso l’estero. Si è creata una bolla speculativa a scapito
degli investimenti e dell’economia reale. Un rublo sopravalutato ha reso
artificialmente convenienti le importazioni a scapito delle esportazioni. La inevitabile
svalutazione ha consentito di rilanciare il settore industriale e le esportazioni.
La medesima politica, ancora, è stata perseguita in Brasile nel 1998. Anche in questo
caso il tasso di interesse salì a più del 50%. Il paese ottenne un elevato prestito dal
Fondo Monetario con il risultato di ritardare di qualche mese il collasso della moneta.
I paesi che non hanno seguito i suggerimenti del Fondo sono stati colpiti dalla crisi in
modo più lieve. La Malesia, invece di lasciar crescere il tasso di interesse, ha imposto
controlli sui flussi in uscita della propria moneta riuscendo a ridurre progressivamente
l’indebitamento nei confronti dell’estero.

2.2.1 La crisi finanziaria nel Sud-Est Asiatico.


I fattori che spiegano il successo dei paesi del Sud-Est Asiatico nella prima metà degli
anni 90 sono stati considerati anche parzialmente responsabili anche della successiva
crisi finanziaria. Proprio le prospettive di crescita di questi mercati hanno attratto un
ingente flusso di capitali. Le politiche di liberalizzazione finanziaria perseguite dal
Fondo Monetario hanno contribuito ad inasprire la crisi, se non addirittura, come
sostiene Stglitz, a provocarla: “una liberalizzazione eccessivamente rapida dei mercati
finanziari è stata probabilmente la causa principale della crisi, sebbene vi abbiano
contribuito anche alcune politiche sbagliate condotte dai singoli paesi”.
I fattori all’origine della crescita nei paesi del Sud Est asiatico sono numerosi.
- Una forte espansione delle esportazioni di prodotti manufatti è stata favorita dalla
progressiva apertura del sistema verso l’estero e dall’abbandono delle precedenti
politiche di sostituzione delle importazioni.
- L’intervento dello stato è stato marcato, sia attraverso dazi e sussidi a favore dei
settori chiave della crescita, sia attraverso misure anche complesse, come i prestiti
agevolati e il sostegno pubblico all’attività di R&D.
- L’accumulazione di capitale umano attraverso ad un processo di scolarizzazione è
stato molto significativo.
- Il contesto macroeconomico è stato relativamente stabile. Da una parte il tasso
d’inflazione è stato contenuto. Dall’altra il bilancio pubblico è sempre stato in avanzo
ed il debito pubblico contenuto.

18
Nella seconda metà degli anni 90, nonostante si fosse verificato un calo nei tassi di
rendimento del capitale, il tasso di investimento e l’afflusso di capitale verso il Sud-
Est asiatico sono rimasti elevati. Gli investitori internazionali avevano fiducia nella
sicurezza delle banche asiatiche, soprattutto in presenza di performance di crescita
così elevati e così costanti nel tempo. La facilità di accesso al credito non è stata
accompagnata da una adeguata struttura istituzionale. La regolamentazione bancaria
in Asia era fortemente carente. I dati relativi al finanziamento bancario al settore
privato mostrano una generale tendenza all’aumento in tutti i paesi nel periodo 1990-
1996 con picchi nelle Filippine, in Tailandia ed in Malesia. La maggior parte di questi
prestiti era di bassa qualità. Si trattava di investimenti finanziari di dubbia
profittabilità o di acquisti speculativi di attività finanziarie pre-esistenti. Altrettanto
poco solido era il contesto legale che avrebbe potuto sostenere le imprese nel caso di
difficoltà. Nelle economie asiatiche la legge sulla bancarotta era praticamente
inesistente (data la mancanza di precedenti) e nel momento in cui le imprese con
problemi di liquidità iniziarono semplicemente a non rimborsare i loro prestiti, i
creditori smisero di concedergliene di nuovi, privandoli dei fondi per far fronte ai
debiti esistenti.
Insieme ai fattori di carattere istituzionale occorre osservare che anche le politiche
specifiche assunte dai governi asiatici si sono rivelate errate. Innanzitutto la scelta di
un tasso di cambio ancorato al dollaro si è rivelata un errore. Meglio sarebbe stata una
graduale conversione verso una maggiore flessibilità del cambio, oppure l’ancoraggio
ad un paniere di valute, comprese quelle dei paesi maggiori partners commerciali.
Inoltre, l’obiettivo di controllare l’inflazione attraverso l’ancoraggio al dollaro, non
era giustificato dal momento che il tasso di inflazione era basso.
Un’altra misura di politica economica che ha contribuito alla crisi è stato l’intervento
di sterilizzazione sul mercato dei cambi da parte delle autorità monetarie, al fine di
evitare che il forte afflusso di capitale dall’estero facesse apprezzare la valuta
nazionale. Gli ingenti acquisti di attività estere hanno evitato il pericolo di un
apprezzamento del cambio, ma hanno contribuito a creare elevati stock di riserve
internazionali che sono state utilizzate per importare beni dall’estero provocando uno
squilibrio nelle partite correnti della bilancia dei pagamenti.
L’importanza degli squilibri delle partite correnti nel determinare una crisi finanziaria
è ampiamente riconosciuta in letteratura. Lo stretto collegamento tra i due fenomeni
(accumulazione persistente di deficit correnti e insorgenza di una crisi finanziaria)
risulta evidente soprattutto dai dati relativi alla Tailandia. Ad eccezione di Singapore,
Taiwan e Cina, contraddistinti da surplus più o meno in crescita, il resto dei paesi
asiatici presentarono nel corso degli anni ‘90 mediamente dei saldi di conto corrente
negativi. In altre parole si era manifestata una situazione di riduzione della
competitività. I paesi che subirono gli effetti negativi della crisi nel 1997 sono stati
proprio quelli che negli anni Novanta avevano cominciato ad evidenziare significativi
deficit nelle partite correnti. Le valute di questi stessi paesi si sono fortemente
deprezzate rispetto al dollaro. Già nel 1996 Lawrence Summers affermò: “close
attention should be paid to any current account deficit in excess of 5% of GDP,
particularly if it is financed in a way that could lead to rapid reversal”.
Infine è stato sottovalutato il pericolo derivante dalla forte ondata di capitali
dall’estero che ha finito con l’alimentare delle bolle speculative che hanno influenzato
il mercato azionario e quello dei beni immobili gonfiando il valore delle azioni. La
liberalizzazione del mercato finanziario ha favorito l’afflusso di capitali a breve
termine, sottoforma di investimenti di portafoglio (investimenti con capitale di
rischio) e transazioni valutarie sul mercato dei cambi, entrambi caratterizzati da una

19
forte volatilità, ovvero capacità di abbandonare in qualsiasi momento il mercato. Si è
così creato un eccesso di capacità produttiva in alcuni settori chiave dell’economia.
Corrispondentemente è aumentato l’indebitamento a breve termine. Se una vasta
frazione di passività sono a breve diventa elevato il rischio di cadere in una crisi di
liquidità Questa potrebbe essere determinata da un’ondata di panico che
improvvisamente potrebbe svilupparsi tra i creditori esteri preoccupati da un continuo
deprezzamento della valuta nazionale. Questi investitori potrebbero non essere più
disposti a concedere prestiti a breve ed invece richiedere il rimborso.
Un ruolo determinante nel provocare le crisi finanziarie è attribuibile all’esistenza di
asimmetrie informative. Il comportamento spesso irrazionale degli investitori alimenta
fenomeni di overshooting, ovvero un eccesso di reazione (sia verso il basso che verso
l’alto) dei prezzi che non riflettono più valori in linea con i fondamentali
dell’economia. Proprio il mutamento delle aspettative degli investitori domestici e
internazionali si è tradotto in un vero e proprio panico che ha contribuito
all’estensione e alla profondità della crisi asiatica del 1997. Gli Investimenti diretti
dall’estero avrebbero costituito invece una fonte di finanziamento del deficit di parte
corrente molto più stabile e meno volatile rispetto all’afflusso di capitali.
Un meccanismo di trasmissione della crisi risiede anche nei rapporti commerciali. Il
contagio si manifesta nel momento in cui un paese che fa parte di un’area ben
integrata (quale è quella asiatica) subisce una crisi che implica una recessione
economica, con la conseguenza di contagiare, in seguito alla caduta delle esportazioni
anche i partners commerciali. Dalla Tailandia agli altri paesi dell’Asean le
svalutazioni si sono susseguite molto velocemente. Il “pacchetto di salvataggio”
fornito dalla comunità internazionale si proponeva l’obiettivo di ripristinare la fiducia
nel mercato, per evitare nuovi fenomeni di attacchi valutari. Nella pratica l’intervento
finanziario si è rivelato un salvataggio delle banche internazionali, più che un
salvataggio dei paesi colpiti dalle crisi. Il denaro conferito ai paesi permise alle
aziende indebitate con le banche occidentali di disporre dei dollari necessari a
rimborsarli.
A partire dall’autunno del 1997 si innescò un effetto domino, attraverso il quale le
valute si svalutarono ulteriormente per quattro mesi. La perdita della fiducia da parte
degli investitori, sistemi finanziari fisiologicamente deboli, l’eccessivo indebitamento
del settore privato e la mancanza di trasparenza sono tutti elementi che hanno
concorso alla diffusione della crisi. L’instabilità politica fu un ulteriore fattore che
mise in fuga i capitali degli investitori internazionali. Le difficoltà si ponevano in
termini di eccessivo indebitamento del settore privato (non pubblico) e di
un’insufficienza della domanda (non di un eccesso). Una politica da perseguire
avrebbe potuto essere quella di uno stimolo della produzione attraverso una politica
fiscale espansiva di tipo keynesiano, o per lo meno non di contrazione. Il FMI suggerì,
invece, politiche opposte, e cioè restrittive.
Il FMI è stato criticato per aver utilizzato “the same old austerity medicine,
inappropriately dispensed to countries suffering from a different malady” e di aver
sottostimato l’impatto deflativo del pacchetto di salvataggio sia della politica fiscale
che di quella monetaria. In economie affette dal problema dell’eccessivo
indebitamento del settore privato, quale era questo il caso, imporre una stretta fiscale,
non solo produce effetti pesanti sulla società, ma soprattutto porta le istituzioni
finanziarie e le banche sull’orlo della bancarotta, soprattutto quando ad aggravare
ulteriormente la situazione arriva la decisione, quale è stata quella imposta dal FMI di
alzare i tassi di interesse.
Tra le varie condizioni che vincolavano gli aiuti del FMI, vi fu la richiesta di

20
mantenere elevati tassi di interesse per persuadere gli investitori a mantenere i loro
capitali nel paese. Dopo le prime svalutazioni le autorità nazionali di Tailandia,
Malesia, Indonesia e Filippine avevano evitato la contrazione monetaria, tentando di
mantenere i tassi di interesse bassi. In presenza di forti attacchi speculativi un
comportamento di questo tipo può essere compreso alla luce del fragile contesto
finanziario e bancario in cui operavano le banche centrali. Esse temevano che se il
costo del denaro fosse aumentato, la situazione debitoria di banche, istituzioni
finanziarie e imprese sarebbe peggiorata in balia della stretta creditizia. Tuttavia
questa strategia si è mostrata molto rischiosa perché ha innescato una spirale di
deprezzamento della valuta che ha drasticamente aggravato il peso reale del debito
estero denominato in valuta straniera. L’intervento del FMI si attivò solo dopo che le
valute si erano pesantemente svalutate.
Le prescrizioni impartite dal FMI erano giustificate dal pericolo che una azione troppo
blanda potesse minare la credibilità del commitment del FMI nel ridurre gli squilibri
nelle partite correnti, ma soprattutto dalla necessità di finanziare il programma di
ristrutturazione del sistema finanziario. Ma il crollo del tassi di cambio nell’estate del
1997 e dei mercati borsistici, accompagnato da una riduzione degli investimenti e dei
consumi, innescarono la recessione. In presenza di una riduzione del reddito, anche la
base per l’imposizione fiscale si riduce, compromettendo la fonte di entrata dei conti
pubblici. Stiglitz sottolinea la totale mancanza di fondamenta logiche alle politiche
fiscali del FMI, giudicate troppo austere. “In sessant’anni nessun economista degno di
tale nome ha mai pensato che un paese in fase recessiva possa avere un bilancio in
pareggio”.
La caduta delle importazioni ha generato un miglioramento rapido della BP e del
deficit di parte corrente. Tale miglioramento è da imputare principalmente alla
riduzione delle importazioni (a causa della domanda dei consumatori interni, divenuti
più poveri) e solo in seguito all’aumento delle esportazioni (effetto della svalutazione
del cambio). Le politiche fiscali di natura restrittiva furono ad un certo punto
abbandonate. Lo stesso Williamson ha riconosciuto che il criterio inizialmente
suggerito “that the deficit be small enough to be financed without recourse to the
inflation tax” era troppo stringente. Egli ha anche riconosciuto l’importanza di
definire politiche fiscali counter-cyclical, almeno in misura di permettere agli
stabilizzatori automatici di operare.
Con l’espandersi della crisi la necessità di ristrutturare diventava parte integrante del
programma di salvataggio del FMI e riguardava sia il settore finanziario-bancario che
quello aziendale. Il FMI non si limitò a fornire la liquidità necessaria all’azione di
recupero, bensì era convinto di dover intervenire attivamente. Mantenere in vita
banche finite ormai in bancarotta era considerato un errore, perché questo avrebbe
contribuito alla diffusione della crisi; meglio ricapitalizzare banche (se recuperabili)
oppure chiuderle. Contemporaneamente bisognava procedere con la regolamentazione
bancaria a misura di ciascun contesto specifico.
Naturalmente l’opera di ristrutturazione del sistema bancario nell’ambito di un paese
in via di sviluppo incontra una serie di ostacoli rispetto a un contesto sviluppato.
Innanzitutto vi è una lacuna di capacità tecniche, legali e istituzionali a sostegno del
lavoro di ristrutturazione. Inoltre il numero delle banche insolventi è elevato. Infine, il
sistema bancario è complesso, composto da un mix di banche private e banche
pubbliche. Le seconde possono vantare una garanzia implicita da parte dei governi a
favore dei depositanti, mentre le prime possono esserne lasciate sprovviste e venire
perciò assalite dal pubblico che decide di trasferire i propri risparmi altrove.
In Asia si è innescato un circolo vizioso: quando il sistema finanziario ha ceduto, le

21
aziende non sono più riuscite a trovare nuovi fondi per incrementare la produzione per
le esportazioni, la produzione è diminuita e i profitti crollati, fino a decretare il
fallimento delle imprese. Nei paesi in via di sviluppo, in cui le fonti di finanziamento
sono limitate, se la banca a cui un impresa si affida per operare fallisce, trovare una
nuova fonte di finanziamento diventa praticamente impossibile.
La ristrutturazione delle aziende in difficoltà, vale a dire un chiarimento circa
l’effettiva proprietà delle aziende, l’estinzione del debito o la sua conversione in
capitale, fu un altro settore di intervento del FMI, in cui ugualmente si registrarono
degli insuccessi. Innanzitutto, nei paesi asiatici la mancanza di una legge sul
fallimento ha reso impossibile gestire le questioni relative all’effettiva proprietà.
Inoltre venne confusa la ristrutturazione finanziaria delle imprese con quella vera e
propria inerente la produzione e la sua organizzazione.

2.2.2 Il caso dell’Argentina.


La crisi Argentina può essere considerata un altro esempio emblematico degli effetti
negativi delle politiche suggerite dal Fondo Monetario. La svalutazione del peso nei
confronti del dollaro (di ben il 41%) può essere considerata l’effetto finale di una serie
di errori compiuti nell’arco di un decennio. Per dirla con Stiglitz non è che l’ultimo di
una serie di salvataggi guidati dal Fondo Monetario Internazionale che si sono
conclusi con uno sperpero di miliardi di dollari e che non hanno salvato le economie
che intendevano aiutare. Nei primi anni 90 in Argentina per combattere
l’iperinflazione era necessario adottare politiche che producessero un mutamento di
aspettative. L’ancoraggio del peso al dollaro (con una parità unitaria) doveva servire a
questo. La stabilizzazione suggerita dal Fondo Monetario ha effettivamente abbassato
l’inflazione, ma ha finito con il bloccare la crescita. Se l’Argentina avesse adottato un
sistema di cambi più flessibile, o quanto meno un tasso di cambio che maggiormente
riflettesse i modelli commerciali del paese, la caduta delle esportazioni sarebbe stata
meno sensibile.
Il processo di privatizzazione era stato sostenuto dall’afflusso di ingenti capitali
dall’estero. La privatizzazione del sistema bancario si era tradotta in un sistema stabile
ma inadeguato a sostenere la crescita delle imprese nazionali, ed in particolare delle
piccole e medie imprese. Le difficoltà ad ottenere prestiti da parte delle industrie
argentine furono aggravate dal rialzo dei tassi di interesse conseguente alla crisi che a
partire dal 1997 si era andata sviluppando nel Sud-Est asiatico.
Proprio in seguito alla crisi asiatica il valore del dollaro, al quale il peso argentino era
legato, cominciò ad aumentare. Nel frattempo il Brasile, paese confinante e partner
commerciale del Mercosur, ha consentito alla propria moneta di svalutarsi in modo
significativo. La caduta dei salari e dei prezzi interni non è bastata all’Argentina per
recuperare il suo grado di competitività a livello internazionale. A ciò si aggiunga che
l’esportazione di molti dei suoi prodotti agricoli hanno subito un forte rallentamento a
causa delle politiche protezionistiche dei paesi industrializzati ed in particolare a
causa della politica agricola comune (PAC) da parte dei paesi della Comunità
Europea.
Secondo Stiglitz è il Fondo Monetario ad aver commesso “il suo errore fatale.
Incoraggiando una politica fiscale restrittiva, ha ripercorso la strada già sbagliata nel
Sud-Est asiatico, con le stesse disastrose conseguenze. L’austerità fiscale avrebbe
dovuto ripristinare la fiducia….qualsiasi economista avrebbe previsto che le politiche
restrittive avrebbero provocato un rallentamento dell’economia, e che gli obiettivi di
bilancio non sarebbero stati soddisfatti”.
Sempre secondo Stiglitz le lezioni da trarre oggi sono: 1) In un mondo di tassi

22
variabili, stabilizzare una singola valuta nei confronti del dollaro è rischioso. Il paese
perde infatti progressivamente di competitività. Adeguamenti nel tempo dei tassi di
cambio fanno parte del meccanismo di reazione. 2) Se si ignorano i contesti sociali e
politici lo si fa a proprio rischio e pericolo. Qualsiasi governo persegua politiche che
lasciano larghi strati di popolazione disoccupata o sottoccupata fallisce nella propria
missione primaria. 3) Concentrarsi sull’inflazione, senza tenere conto degli effetti
delle politiche sulla disoccupazione e sul tasso di crescita è rischioso. La crescita
richiede istituzioni finanziarie che possano finanziare le aziende nazionali. Vendere la
proprietà delle banche agli stranieri, senza adeguate misure di salvaguardia, può
bloccare la crescita e la stabilità. 4) Raramente si ripristina la fiducia con politiche che
provochino situazione recessive. Sotto questo profilo il Fondo Monetario ha una
grossa responsabilità per aver insistito nel suggerire l’adozione di politiche restrittive.
5) Le politiche di stabilizzazione possono essere adeguate in determinate circostanze e
nel breve periodo, ma finiscono con il produrre effetti perversi qualora siano adottate
in modo siano perseguite troppo a lungo nel tempo.

23
Parte III
Le critiche al Washington Consensus. La posizione di Stiglitz, di Rodrik, di
Kuczynski e Williamson.

3.1 The post-Washington Consensus (Stiglitz, 1998, 2002; World Bank 2005).
Stiglitz, the chief economist at the World Bank from 1996 until November 2000, one
of the main critics of the Washington Consensus, argued that the success of the
consensus as an intellectual course of action for development rested on its simplicity.
This was a very important advantage of the Washington Consensus approach to policy
advice. The policy recommendations could easily be administered by using simple
accounting frameworks based on a few economic indicators: inflation, money supply
growth, interest rates, budget position, and trade deficits. The simplifying assumptions
of the Washington Consensus made it an easy target for attack from economists who
disputed the interpretation and outcomes of Latin American reforms, and also from
social scientists who questioned the obsession with economic development and
neglect of social development. The Washington Consensus paid attention only to
increasing real GDP (the total market value measured in constant prices of all goods
and services produced within an economy during one year), while ignoring social
indicators such as increasing living standards and democratic-equitable-sustainable
development.
The neoliberal manifesto has been taken to imply that the policies to achieve
economic growth in developing countries, as the experience of Latin America
revealed, were: macroeconomic stability, fiscal austerity, market liberalization,
privatization and “getting prices right” (Stiglitz, 1998, p. 1, 2000, p. 13, 2002, p. 53).
It was assumed that fiscal discipline, accompanied by deregulation, trade
liberalization and privatization would be sufficient to eliminate stagnation and launch
economic growth in developing countries and in transition economies. The
fashionable interpretation held that unfettered free markets, a reduced role for the state
– essentially, once the government “got out of the way” (Stiglitz, 1998, p. 1) – and
integration into the international economy provided the best modus operandi for
development (Levinson, 2000, p. 11).
Washington institutions imposed their views on Latin America, and also on other
countries, through policy conditionality. Support for the Washington Consensus was
also provided from within, as Latin Americans with newly Ph.D.s acquired from U.S.
economics departments returned to positions of authority. Nonetheless, this process
was also the product of Washington: Latin American students received generous
scholarships from the United States to be taught the consensus, “just as in the colonial
era” (Stewart, 1997, p. 63). Washington made a concerted effort to shift policies
worldwide towards monetarist, market-oriented, open, non-interventionist policies
(Stewart, 1997, p. 63).
As Latin America was experiencing escalating inflation, inefficient state enterprises,
and stagnation behind protectionist walls, it was quite natural that these features
provided the setting for the Washington Consensus. But the consensus resulted in
policies that were not conducive to long-term economic growth: a weak financial
system (problems of incomplete information, incomplete markets and incomplete
contracts are severe in the financial sector), competition policy, education and
improvement in technology (Stiglitz, 1998, p. 15). In the meantime, the Washington
Consensus assumed both private property and competitive markets to be existence,
but developing and transition economies lacked both (Stiglitz, 1998, pp. 18–9).

24
As part of the obsession with liberalization, the Washington Consensus
recommendation was to deregulate labor markets, since mainstream economic theory
treated labor like any other commodity. The greater flexibility in the labor market was
supposed to lead to lower unemployment and to generate ore investment and thus
more demand for labor. The evidence in Latin America was not supportive of those
conclusions (Stiglitz, 2000, p. 17). Wage flexibility had not been associated with
lower unemployment and job creation. Labor market flexibility “too often . . . moved
people from low productivity to unemployment, which is even lower productivity”
(Stiglitz, 2000, p. 21). In the meantime, income distribution in many of the economies
that implemented the Washington Consensus had become sharply more unequal. As a
rule, the attitude of the followers of the Washington Consensus has been that,
although this inequality was somewhat unfortunate, it as a necessary outcome, to be
expected and, within bounds, to be desired.
Stiglitz during the gravest global economic crisis in a half-century elaborated a new
approach called “The post-Washington Consensus”. According to Stiglitz the
Washington Consensus failed because it viewed development too narrowly (lack of
historical context). New growth theories should tackle the issue of poverty and equity
in the growth process. Development is a transformation of society, from traditional
relations and traditional ways of thinking to more "modern" ways. Although the
particular priorities will differ from country to country, there are some common
elements: i) successful development efforts in the United States, as well as many other
countries, had involved an active role for government; ii) development was the
exception around the world, not the rule; iii) capitalist economies before the era of
greater government involvement were characterised by high levels of economic
instability, but also by widespread social/economic problems; large groups, such as
the aged and the unskilled, were often left out of any progress and were left destitute
in the economic crashes that occurred with such regularity; iv) change is not an end in
itself, but a means to other objectives. The changes that are associated with
development provide individuals and societies more control over their own destiny.
Development enriches the lives of individuals by widening their horizons and
reducing their sense of isolation. It reduces the afflictions brought on by disease and
poverty, not only increasing life spans, but improving the vitality of life.
Development is a transformation of society, from traditional relations and traditional
ways of thinking to more "modern" way. Reduction of dualism (urban/rural,
modern/traditional technologies) and cohemprensive programs are important steps.
Developing countries are markedly different from the more advanced countries and
from each other. Each must follow his development path. A new growth theory should
tackle the issue of poverty and equity in the growth process.
According to Stiglitz a new development agenda thus must been built around:
* identifying and explaining key characteristics of developing countries, and
especially those that differentiate them from the more developed countries;
* exploring the macro-economic implications of these features for growth and
stability;
* describing the process of change that is how institutions, including social and
political institutions, and economic structures are altered in the process of
development;
* analysing reform processes (timing and effects) in light of changes in the global
economy and in particulr the effects on corruption;

25
* in assessing development programs it is necessary to look not only at impacts on
GDP, but also on the environment, poverty and democracy (short run and long run
impact and sustainability of development programs);
* closing of the knowledge gap between developing and more developed countries.
Industrial policies have played an important role in the development of almost all of
the successful countries.
Consistency, coherence, and completeness. Although the particular priorities will
differ from country to country, there are some common elements: i) Education and
Knowledge are the core of development (East Asian experience); ii) Infrastructures;
iii) Health; iv) Capacity-building. A successful transformation must come from within
the country itself. Institutions and leadership must catalyse and manage the process of
change, and the changed society; v) Country assistance strategies must be based on
partnerships; vi) Participation must act at different level (central government, local
communities); vii) More sovranational governance through stronger and not weaker
International Institutions. Rebuilding the international architecture and financial
flows. Volatility of short-term capital cannot sustain long-term investments. The high
development costs exacted by abrupt capital-flow reversals - the lost years of
education, the rise in infant mortality, the job losses - can easily swamp any marginal
benefit derived from such flows, as happened in East Asia; viii) Fair trade. Lower
protection in strategic sectors for developing countries (PAC). Lower protection in
intellectual property (Reduction of TRIPS and royalties); ix) New policies
instruments: microcredit finance; cancellation of poor countries debt; reduction of
conditionality rules; unorthodox measures (currency control, redistribution policies
and increases in real wages and public expenditure)) instead of ortodhox ones; the
Tobin tax; cancellation of user fees on primary health care and education for poor
people; stop to WB and FMI promotion of privatisation of water resources; x) Among
the Institutional Reform the most important are that directed to the building of the so
called “Social capital”. It is a broad concept who refers to the: quality of the
bureaucracy, overall maintenance of the rule of law, reducing political corruption and
the likelihood of people and government repudiation of contracts, developing “trust”
between agents. Rules and institutions cannot be bought and sold on the market (or
offered as a gift) like goods and services. Social capital is endogenous. The pace of
change and the pattern of reforms must be adapted to each country's ability to create
social/organisational capital. This factor may, in fact, be the most important constraint
on the speed of transformation.
Some studies have showed that more civically active communities in the US are more
successful in reducing poverty, unemployment and crime, and more successful in
areas of education and health. Other studies show that the higher the degree of
participation in horizontal associations (networks) the better the quality of local and
regional public services. Also, macroeconomists have argued that active interactions
amongst individuals lead to transmission of knowledge, higher levels of aggregate
human capital and the development of trust, which in turn improves the functioning of
markets via the reduction of “transaction costs”.
Very often, participation in social activities like those occurring in religious groups,
youth groups, hobby clubs, etc., are the variables that researchers have taken to be a
good proxy for “social capital”.
According to Stiglitz the dimensions of social capital are:
* The enabling environment for the private sector, which includes markets and the
legal infrastructure that is necessary for markets to function well

26
* The knowledge environment, which enables new knowledge to be absorbed,
adapted to the circumstances of the country, and put to use.
* The policy environment, which includes the capacity to make key decisions
concerning development strategies.
An important message is the need to recognize country specificities in country
economic analysis, acknowledging that policies are conceived and implemented
within a specific institutional, social, and historic context. Recent economic and sector
work at the World Bank already seeks to achieve a better balance between country
specificities and the lessons from country experiences, but more is needed fully to
recognize that country-specific market structures and institutions have a strong
influence on policy outcomes.
The impact of reforms has been assessed by a World Bank Report “Learning from
Reforms”. The message is on the need for humility, for policy diversity, for selective
and modest reforms, and for experimentation. The central message of this volume, “is
that there is no unique universal set of rules…. [W]e need to get away from formulae
and the search for elusive ‘best practices’….” (p. xiii). It pushes us to think harder and
deeper about the economics of reform than anything else out there. It warns us to be
skeptical of top-down, comprehensive, universal solutions—no matter how well-
intentioned they may be. And it reminds us that the requisite economic analysis—hard
as it is, in the absence of specific blueprints—has to be done case by case.
World Bank in contrast with the Washington Consensus, stresses the role of
differences in the institutions underlying policy design and policy implementation in
explaining different rates of growth. The broad objectives of economic reform—
namely market oriented incentives, macroeconomic stability, and outward
orientation—do not translate into unique set of policy actions. “The principles of …
‘macroeconomic stability, domestic liberalization, and openness’ have been
interpreted narrowly to mean ‘minimize fiscal deficits, minimize inflation, minimize
tariffs, maximize privatization, maximize liberalization of finance,’ with the
assumption that the more of these changes the better, at all times and in all places—
overlooking the fact that these expedients are just some of the ways in which these
principles can be implemented”.
Different contexts require different solutions to solving common problems. Enhancing
private investment incentives may require improving the security of property rights in
one country, but enhancing the financial sector in another. Technological catch-up
may call for better or worse patent protection, depending on the level of development.
This explains why countries that are growing (Bangladesh, Botswana, Chile, China,
Egypt, India, Lao PDR, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Vietnam) have such
diverse policy configurations, and why attempts to copy successful policy reforms in
another country often end up in failure.
The big mistake made in the 1990s has been the translation of general policy
principles into a unique set of actions. The principles as “macroeconomic stability;
domestic liberalization, and openness,” have been interpreted narrowly to mean
“minimize fiscal deficits, minimize inflation, minimize tariffs, maximize
privatization, maximize liberalization of finance ”with the assumption that the more
of these changes the better, at all times and in all places— overlooking the fact that
these expedients are just some of the ways in which these principles can be
implemented.
The economic policy reforms of the 1990s focused on improving efficiency in the
allocation of resources through macroeconomic stabilization, liberalization of trade
and the financial sector, privatization, and deregulation. Deregulation and reduction in

27
the role of government were expected to improve the governance of the public sector
through improvements in incentives for performance, more transparency, and fewer
opportunities for rent seeking. Institutional reforms focused on improving collective
decision making and solving agency problems through democratization,
decentralization, and public sector reforms aimed at enhancing the efficiency,
transparency, and accountability of government activities.
Over the 1980s and 1990s, as part of the general shift to a more market-oriented
economy, the approach to finance shifted away from holding down interest rates,
limiting competition, and relying on governments to allocate credit and toward more
market-based, internationally open systems. Financial liberalization reflected:
1) the reaction to the costs, corruption, and inefficiencies of financial repression;
2) the demands of government and the public for more financial resources and
services;
3) the pressures from greater trade, travel, and migration, and better
telecommunications.
Contrary to expectations, financial liberalization did not add much to growth, and it
appears to have augmented the number of crises. The explanation for these
disappointing outcomes lies largely in weak institutions, concentrated economic and
political power, and macroeconomic shocks. The implicit and explicit guarantees that
were extended to depositors and investors weakened the market discipline that might
have limited the activities of weak lenders.
The lack of improved credit access reflected weak informational and legal
frameworks. Lack of information on borrowers hindered lenders and gave borrowers
no incentive to maintain a good credit record. Weak legal and judicial frameworks
(designed to protect borrowers and often responsive to economic and political elites)
reduced the incentives to service debts; they made it difficult for new borrowers to
gain access to finance by pledging collateral effectively and made it difficult for
lenders to execute collateral. The 1990s reinforced the old lesson that successful
financial liberalization depends on macroeconomic management. No banking system,
however sound in principle, can withstand a serious macroeconomic crisis. Dealing
with a banking crisis is quite complex, involving highly political issues of liquidity
support to banks.
Technological catch-up requires not only investment and trade policies that enable a
country to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and import equipment, but also
institutions that, depending on the country’s development stage, promote adaptive
research or a patent regime.
Different policies can have the same effect, and the same policy can have different
effects, depending on the context. In large economies, with access to foreign
technology and equipment, competition and economies of scale lessen the efficiency
cost of trade restrictions and markedly widen the scope for successful inward-oriented
industrialization. Brazil, China, and India were able to develop manufacturing, many
segments of which became internationally competitive, whereas in small countries
such as Jamaica and Uruguay, or Sri Lanka in the 1960s and 1970s, the market was
too small; the benefits of inward-looking industrialization were negligible and did not
justify its costs. Like that of policies, the effect of institutions depends on the context.
Security of ownership rights has been achieved in different ways and to different
extents in different country contexts.
Analytical work needs to change its orientation, away from seeking to assess how far
policies diverge from optimality, to seeking to assess what policy and institutional

28
conditions—for capital accumulation, shared growth, productivity growth, and risk
taking in a country-specific context—are needed to set the growth process in motion.
There is a need to rethink the focus of growth strategies and of development
assistance. Up to now, that focus has been on the nation state with the implicit
assumptions that (1) development outcomes within the boundaries of a nation state are
homogeneous, and (2) all developing countries’ per capita incomes could and should
converge with those of industrialized countries. There is now greater evidence and
acknowledgment that these two assumptions do not always hold. Convergence is
much less a force now than anticipated a decade or more ago. Within countries such
as Brazil, China, and India, income differences across regions are as large as income
differences across countries. Ownership and empowrment must be goals to reach.
Strategies must be elaborated not only at a national level, but taking in account the
specific-country context, at various level of government.
To sustain growth requires key functions to be fulfilled, but there is no unique
combination of policies and institutions for fulfilling them.
1) The same policy can yeld different results depending on country institutional
context.
2) Capital accumulation is an important factor. For example, capital
accumulation by the public sector requires sound tax policies and
administration, sustainable macro policies, and a bureaucracy that is capable
of formulating and managing public expenditure programs effectively and of
choosing programs with high returns. Accumulation by the private sector
requires at least reasonably secure private property rights, stable expectations
about the future, a stable macroeconomic setting, and access to finance.
3) One country might strengthen private investment by, say, improving
expectations, whereas another country could achieve the same result by, say,
reforming the financial sector.
4) Similarly, efficiency in allocation requires not only reasonably sound
policies—such as competitive exchange rates and an open trade regime—but
also institutions that can enforce contracts and enable markets to function
The same model cannot be used to explain the growth in the Republic of Korea,
Brazil, Bolivia or Rwanda. Defined as the rules and norms constraining human
behavior, institutions include the informal rules and norms that govern personal and
social behavior and the formal rules and norms governing economic, social, and
political life. Institutions enable societies to organize themselves and function in an
orderly manner by solving problems central to life in society, particularly agency
problems, containment of predation by individuals or the state, and collective decision
making. Societies’ performance depends on how effectively their institutions resolve
these problems. While there are some functions that institutions need to perform in
any society, the form through which institutions can perform these functions can vary
considerably. Of course for most developing countries, improving the quality of their
institutions remains a big challenge.
Recent literature has emphasized the important links between the distribution of assets
in a society and the institutions that emerge. Knowledge is still rudimentary about
how institutions emerge and are established in a society, but economic research in the
1990s has provided some insights stressing the role of the enforcement of property
rights to land. The institutions that sustain the functioning of markets help to resolve
the different coordination or risk-reducing problems that they are meant to resolve.
Empirical research has argued that when a measure of “institutional quality” is
included in cross-country regressions, the explanatory power of other variables,

29
including all measures of “policies,” becomes negligible. This suggests that “good”
institutions matter more for growth than “good” policies.

3.2 The Augmented Washington Consensus (Rodrik, 2002, 2004).


Also Rodrik (2002, p. 1), in a paper presented at the “Alternatives to Neoliberalism
Conference” (After Neoliberalism, What?) labeled the Washington Consensus an
“application of neoliberal economic policies in the developing world”. Rodrik, as
many other economists, argued that the outcomes of these policies were very
disappointing. He found obvious that by the end of the 1990s the consensus had been
altered; in the form of what he named the “Augmented Washington Consensus”.
Rodrik used the term Augmented Washington Consensus in a derogatory form, while
Stiglitz was trying to build up something that he thought to be positive. It is also
interesting to note that in Rodrik papers in which he formulated the Augmented
Washington Consensus, there is no mention of Stiglitz’s post-Washington consensus.
He observed that there was a revision in the dominant thinking of multilateral
agencies and policy economists in Washington that produced a broader research
agenda, “the second generation reforms”. There was the recognition that: i) firstly
market orientated reforms were ineffective without institutional rejuvenation; ii)
secondly, financial liberalization would lead to crises without a sensible
macroeconomic framework and prudential supervision; iii) lastly, a trickle-down
approach to poverty reduction did not prove adequate. Thus there was a need for
social policies and anti-poverty programs.
Rodrik labeled this new set of policies adopted by Washington the “Augmented
Washington Consensus”, which demanded “heavy-duty institutional reform”, target
problems associated with good governance and also acknowledged the need for some
social policies. The Augmented Washington Consensus interpreted the negative
outcomes of the original Consensus as the result of the inadequate application of the
policies recommended, but nevertheless, concluded that these original policies were
based on sound principles. The new formula was the following: economic growth
depends on sound institutions and openness to trade and capital flows. The
Augmented Washington Consensus established the eligibility criteria for the
Millennium Goals.
The change in thinking in the international community can be demonstrated by a
number of different initiatives inside the IMF and the World Bank. 1) In 1999, there
was a review committee of the IMF’s Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility that
identified a number of problems such as the lack of focus on poverty, an excessive
focus on stabilization relative to growth and technical mistakes with respect to
sequencing such as financial liberalization before establishing an effective regulatory
structure; 2) the International Monetary Fund renamed its assistance to the poorest
nations the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility; 3) both the IMF and World Bank
linked debt relief for the poorest and indebted nations with poverty reduction
strategies; 4) the 1998 Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to Amartya Sen, who
emphasized the association between human capabilities and political freedom as the
means and objectives of development; 5) the heads of Latin American states adopted
poverty reduction, education, and good governance as objectives of development.
The extended list summarized in the Rodrik paper contains some items that are not
new reforms in themselves but rather were necessary changes to make the policies in
the original list work, or to prevent some of those original reforms from failing. In
summary, all the attempts to reform the Washington Consensus without rejecting its

30
fundamentals lead to a broader and softer version of the same. Ten other policies
(most of them belong to the second-generation reforms category) are added to the
previous list. They are:
1. Corporate governance: this policy would be placed in the “institution building”.
2. Anti-corruption: this policy would be placed in the institution building entry.
3. Flexible labor markets: this policywould be placed in the deregulation entry.
4. WTO agreements: this policy would be placed in the trade liberalization entry.
5. Financial codes and standards: this policywould be placed in the financial
liberalization entry
6. “Prudent” capital-account opening: this policy would be placed in the trade
liberalization entry
7. Non-intermediate exchange rate regimes: this policy would be placed in the
exchange rates entry. Williamson stipulated that this entry, non-intermediate exchange
rate regime, contradicts the entry of a unified and managed competitive real exchange
to maintain competitiveness of the original Washington Consensus.
8. Independent central banks/Inflation targeting: this policy would be placed in the
institution building entry. However, in Rodrik’sopinion “the current obsession with
independent central bank, flexible exchange rates, and inflation targeting is nothing
other than a fad”.
9. Social safety nets: this policy would be placed in the public expenditure priorities
entry.
10. Targeted poverty reduction: this policy would be placed in the public expenditure
priorities entry.
However, as Rodrik emphasizes the new policy agenda is as disappointing as the first
for several reasons. First, it is a too broad and ambitious agenda and it does not give
any suggestions about the priorities in the reforming process. Second, it seems more a
description of what an already developed country is rather than what it is required for
development. Third, it “is the nature of the agenda that if a country adopts it and fails
to grow, it is always possible to find something wrong with what the government did”
(Rodrik 2004 p. 7). Finally, whether some mainstream economic underpinnings of the
Augmented Washington Consensus are sound, they should not be translated into a
unique policy agenda which ignores the local context.
Sound economic principles are, according to Rodrik: (1) providing property rights and
the rule of law; (2) recognizing the importance of private incentives; (3) managing
financial and macroeconomic policies; (4) building institutions for conflict
management.
However, there is no a single way to implement these principles: the institutional
arrangements vary. The problem with the Washington and Augmented Washington
Consensus is that they translate these principles into a unique agenda. In this way, the
Augmented Washington Consensus reduces the political space available for
developing countries more than the Washington Consensus because it spreads IFIs
interventions on institutional issues and it imposes one-size-fits-all institutional and
policy reforms. For instance, after the Asian financial crisis, the IMF introduced
institutional reforms (such as an independent central bank, the dismantlement of
industrial conglomerates, etc.) as the counterpart to lending to the these countries,
imposing its (Western) view on institution building.
Therefore, according to its critics, the recent emphasis on human development and the
connected index (human development index and so on), only apparently defies the
current paradigm (embodied by the Washington Consensus). In spite of the rhetoric,
this approach is still ahistorical, it adopts a methodological nationalism (the analysis is

31
still national-constrained) and a normative internationalism (same rules for all) as the
previous paradigm.
Rodrik’s verdict was that: “the Augmented Washington Consensus is bound to
disappoint, just as its predecessor did. There are many things wrong with it. It is an
impossibly broad, undifferentiated agenda of institutional reform. It is too insensitive
to local context and needs. It does not correspond to the empirical reality how
development really takes place. It describes what “advanced” economies look like,
rather than proscribing a practical, feasible path of getting there. In short, the
Augmented Washington Consensus is infeasible, inappropriate, and irrelevant”
(Rodrik, 2002, p.1).
Hence, even the Augmented Washington Consensus, as it was adopted by Washington
at the end of the 1990s in response to the failures of the original Washington
Consensus,was not adequate. “If Latin America was booming today and China and
India were stagnating, we would have an easier time fitting theworld to our policy
framework. Instead, we are straining to explain why unorthodox, two-track,
gradualism reform paths have done so much better than sure-fire adoption of the
standard package” (Rodrik, 2004, p. 32).

3.3 “After the Washington Consensus” (Kuczynski and Williamson, 2003).


Kuczynski and Williamson (2003) published a book “After the Washington
Consensus: Restarting Growth and Reform in Latin America, This book “is all about
reforms that need to be made in Latin America” from 2002. The aim of the new
agenda is to correct all the aforementioned problems stated as alternatives to the
original Washington Consensus. As it has been demonstrated “the Washington
Consensus did not contain all the answers to the questions of 1989, let alone that it
addresses all the new issues that have arisen since then. So of course we need to go
beyond it”. The naming of the new set of policies “After the Washington Consensus”
was a conscious act as there is no attempt to establish a consensus again; the set of
policies offered are those “that the authors of this book believe are needed” and “. . .it
[After theWashington Consensus] is not presented as ultimate truth”
The policies can be outlined as follows:
New Agenda I: Crisis Proofing: an objective of highest priority. Governments should
attempt to reduce vulnerability to crises and stabilize the macro-economy. Volatility
also explains the high unequal distribution of income. This policy requires:
stabilizing inflation (consistent with the original Washington Consensus); to stabilize
the real economy through Keynesian policies; subnational governments subject to
hard budget constraints; establish a stabilization fund; flexible exchange rates;
minimize the use of the dollar; monetary policy targeting a low rate of inflation;
strengthening prudential supervision and increase domestic savings. This policy
would be placed in the following entries of the original Washington Consensus: fiscal
discipline, public expenditure priorities, financial liberalization, exchange rates, trade
liberalization and institution building.
New Agenda II: Completing First-Generation Reforms: Even in the case of Argentina,
widely regarded as the poster child for the Washington Consensus, whilst in 2001–2
the country was embroiled in the deepest crisis that has been experienced in Latin
America at least since the 1980s, the Washington accepts the need that there might be
some situations in favor of fixed rates and in the case the economy is dominated by
the USA dollarization is advised. Consensus cannot be held responsible, as
Williamson argues. In 1991 Argentina adopted a currency board that was successful
in eliminating hyperinflation, but being a rigid system it overvalued the currency to

32
excessive uncompetitive levels. At the same time Argentina failed to implement the
strict fiscal policies required for the currency board to succeed. Both these policies
were not consistent with the Washington Consensus; thus it is unwarranted to blame
the consensus for Argentina’s disaster. “I find it a bit rich to hear the Washington
Consensus blamed for Argentina’s implosion” (Williamson, 2004, p. 8). Hence, there
is a need of completing rather than reversing the reforms based on the Washington
Consensus.
The original formulation of the Washington Consensus was a sensible, yet an
incomplete reform agenda. First of all, liberalizing the labor market, so as to
encourage labor back into formal sector where laborwill get at least minimal social
protection. Complementing import liberalization with better access to export markets
in developed countries. Continuing the privatization program, even though in some
cases it was carried out badly. Supplementing financial liberalization by the
strengthening of prudential supervision. It is reminded that “reducing government
intervention in the economy is not the same as a desire for a minimalist government”
(Williamson, 2003d, p. 308). This policy would be placed in all the entries of the
original Washington Consensus.
New Agenda III: Second-Generation Reforms: in the 1990s a key innovation in
development economics was the recognition of the crucial importance of institutions
in ensuring that the economy functions named “second-generation reforms”. A vital
role for the state, which is perfectly consistent with mainstream economics, is creating
and maintaining effective institutions, in providing public goods, internalizing
externalities, correcting income distribution, decent infrastructure, a stable and
predictable macroeconomic, legal and political environment and a strong human
resource base. The second generation of reforms involves, in addition to the above,
reforming the judiciary, providing teachers and civil services, building a national
innovation system (to promote the diffusion of technological information, fund
precompetitive research, providing tax incentives, encouraging venture capital and
industrial clusters), modernizing themarket institutional structure (property rights and
bankruptcy laws) and institutional reform in the financial sector (strengthening
prudential supervision). However, a mistake would be the initiation of an industrial
policy, a program that requires government to “pickwinners”.
There is more sympathy for a “cousin” of industrial policy, the national innovation
system: government policy is to create an institutional environment in which those
firms that want to innovate find the necessary supporting infrastructure such as to
provide technical education to promote the diffusion of technological information, to
fund precompetitive research, to provide tax incentives for R&D, to encourage
venture capital, to stimulate the growth of industrial clusters and so on (Williamson,
2004b, p. 11). There is also the recognition that the second generation of reforms
would differ for each country and cannot be determined a priori from the agenda.
Williamson (2004a, p. 13) recognizes that this is a departure from the Washington
Consensus, which focused on policies rather than institutions. This policy would be
placed in the row Institution Building as the result of the entry by the Washington
consensus as a neoliberal manifesto.
New Agenda IV: Income Distribution and the Social Sector: growth is always pro-
poor, as benefits trickle-down. But the poor will not benefit as much as they do not
have much resources to start with as in Latin America. Hence there is a case to be
made for supplementing the gains of growth with a degree of income distribution.
Progressive taxes are the traditional means for income redistribution, namely levying
heavier taxes on the wealthy. While tax reforms have been implemented to broaden

33
the tax base, in Latin America, by shifting from direct to indirect taxation, Williamson
now is in favor of reversing the process and increasing direct tax revenue by:
establishing property taxation as the major source of revenue; elimination of tax
loopholes and taxing income earned on flight capital. An increase in tax revenue
should be used to reduce inequality by expanding opportunities for the poor, spending
on basic social services, social safety net, education and health. However, the strategy
focuses more on measures to empower the poor to exploit potentialities (“bootstraps”)
rather than a massive redistribution of income through tax (“Band- Aids”). It is a long
run strategy to allow access to assets that will enable the poor to earn their way out of
poverty by improved educational opportunities, titling programs to provide property
rights to the informal sector, land reform and microcredit. “Hence, our focus is on
both accelerating growth and improving income distribution. We believe that both are
possible and both are necessary” (Kuczynski, 2003, p. 31). Income distribution would
be placed in the Tax Reform entry of the originalWashington Consensus and social
sector in the public expenditure priorities.

34
Parte IV
La posizione di Kanbur e il Rapporto della “Commission on Growth and
Development”.

4.1 An agenda for restarting growth (Kanbur, 2008).


The challenges to the “Washington Consensus”—to what it became, if not to what it
was—has obtained an increasing support. Particularly at the end of the 1990s, with
street battles in Seattle and the sieges of the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and
the International Monetary Fund, positions were sharply divided between what can be
called the “Ministry of Finance tendency” and the “Civil Society tendency”. In
particular the critics were directed toward the US Treasury. In the early 1990s it took
strong positions on the benefits of global integration and private markets, and was a
major player in influencing the IMF to go for capital account liberalization. It further
pushed rapid privatization in Eastern Europe, and trade liberalization in developing
countries of Africa and Asia and Latin America.However it did not rise any sort of
consensus on economic policy, poverty and distribution. And yet, as the 1990s and the
2000s wore on, and as the “facts on the ground” began to accumulate as discussed in
the previous sections, a discernible shift did begin to take place in the economic
development discourse.
There was a turnaround in the IMF’s (and the US Treasury’s) position on capital
account liberalization. More recently have come reassessments of their positions on
trade liberalization by economists like Lawrence Summers, who were in the forefront
of arguing for and pushing for rapid global integration. Rising inequality in the US
and Europe has tempered their zeal and seems to have occasioned a broader rethink.
Having swallowed those bitter pills of intellectual property protection and capital
mobility as a necessary price for a better future, developing countries are now told
that those medicines cause problems that need more – in this case protectionist –
medication. In any event, there seems to be considerable repositioning going on in the
economic policy discourse. Summers focus on trade and inequality in the US and in
rich countries. But a similar rethink is underway on policy for developing countries,
especially in light of the sharp increases in inequality that have been seen there in the
past two decades.
On the distributional front, direct interventions to mitigate the worst outcomes of
poverty and rising inequality, through Conditional Cash Transfers, have exploded in
Latin America, starting with Mexico’s Progresa-Oportunidades program. Now most
countries have such programs, including for example Brazil’s Bolsa Familia. The
broad concern with distributional outcomes is reflected in the adoption of the
Millennium Development Goals by the world development community in 2000. These
include reduction of income poverty, but other goals such as reducing infant
mortality, improving education for the poorest, and so on. The broad objective of
human development had been advocated by the UNDPs Human Development Reports
since the 1990s—they have become more prominent, and in terms of exposure now
are on par with the World Bank’s World Development Reports.

4.2 The Report of the Growth Commission (Commission on Growth and


Development, 2008).
Perhaps the best example of the rethink that is underway in economic intellectual and
policy circles is evidenced by the report of the Growth Commission (Commission on
Growth and Development, 2008). This is a Commission headed by Nobel Prize

35
winning economist Michael Spence, with the other academic on it being another
Nobel Prize winning economist, Robert Solow, the father of the modern theory of
economic growth. As a collectivity this is surely as close as one gets to what can be
called the “Ministry of Finance tendency” (Kanbur 2001), or what Williamson (1990)
meant by the “Washington” of the Washington consensus (suitably extended to
include elite decision makers in developing countries). But the ideas are quite near to
a new consensus as described in light of the debates until now reviewed.
“Growth is not an end in itself. But it makes it possible to achieve other important
objectives of individuals and societies. It can spare people en masse from poverty and
drudgery. Nothing else ever has. It also creates the resources to support health care,
education, and the other Millennium Development Goals to which the world has
committed itself. In short, we take the view that growth is a necessary, if not
sufficient, condition for broader development, enlarging the scope for individuals to
be productive and creative” (p 1).
“The report …does not provide a formula for policy makers to apply—no generic
formula exists. Each country has specific characteristics and historical experiences
that must be reflected in its growth strategy. But the report does offer a framework
that should help policy makers create a growth strategy of their own “ (p. 2).
“Growth of 7 percent a year, sustained over 25 years, was unheard of before the latter
half of the 20th century. It is possible only because the world economy is now more
open and integrated…. [G]rowth strategies that rely exclusively on domestic demand
eventually reach their limits. The home market is usually too small to sustain growth
for long, and it does not give an economy the same freedom to specialize in whatever
it is best at producing (p.2).
“Reforms may be admirable and represent major achievements, but if growth does not
accelerate, or if large numbers of people do not feel any improvement in their
circumstances, then there is more work to do. Relying on markets to allocate
resources efficiently is clearly necessary (there is no known, effective substitute), but
that is not the same thing as letting some combination of markets and a menu of
reforms determine outcomes” (pp. 3-4).
“Wedded to the goal of high growth, governments should be pragmatic in their pursuit
of it. Orthodoxies apply only so far…. At this stage, our models or predictive devices
are, in important respects, incomplete…. It is, therefore, prudent for governments to
pursue an experimental approach to the implementation of economic policy….
Governments should sometimes proceed step by step, avoiding sudden shifts in policy
where the potential risks outweigh the benefits” (p.3).
“In recent decades governments were advised to “stabilize, privatize and liberalize.”
There is merit in what lies behind this injunction—governments should not try to do
too much, replacing markets or closing the economy off from the rest of the world.
But we believe this prescription defines the role of government too narrowly. Just
because governments are sometimes clumsy and sometimes errant, does not mean
they should be written out of the script. On the contrary, as the economy grows and
develops, active, pragmatic governments have crucial roles to play” (p. 4).
As a point of departure the Report reviews the cases of high, sustained growth in the
postwar period. Thirteen economies qualify: Botswana; Brazil; China; Hong Kong,
China; Indonesia; Japan; the Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Malta; Oman; Singapore;
Taiwan, China; and Thailand. Two other countries, India and Vietnam, may be on
their way to joining this group. These cases demonstrate that fast, sustained growth is
possible—after all, 13 economies have achieved it. They also show that it is not
easy—after all, only 13 economies have ever done it. Indeed, some people view these

36
cases as “economic miracles,” events impossible to explain and unlikely to be
repeated.
This report takes exception to that view. There is much to learn from outliers. Paul
Romer, a leading growth theorist and a member of the Commission’s working group,
reminds us that when Japan grew at this pace, commentators said it was a special case
propelled by postwar recovery. When the four East Asian tigers (Hong Kong, China;
Taiwan, China; Singapore; and Korea) matched it, skeptics said it was only possible
because they were so small. When China surpassed them, people said it was only
because China was so big.
The familiar Asian examples may dominate the list, but every other region of the
developing world (Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and emerging Europe) is
also represented. Some of the countries are rich in natural resources (Botswana,
Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Oman, Thailand); the remainder are not. The sample
includes one country with a population well over 1 billion (China), and another with a
population well below 500,000 (Malta).
Perhaps more intriguing is how differently the success stories end. Six of the
economies (Hong Kong, China; Japan; Korea; Malta; Singapore; and Taiwan, China)
continued to grow all the way to high-income levels. But several of the others lost
some or all of their growth momentum long before catching the leading economies.
The most striking example is Brazil, where fast economic growth petered out around
the time of the second oil shock in 1979 and has yet to resume.

A close look at the 13 cases reveals five striking points of resemblance


1. They fully exploited the world economy
3. They mustered high rates of saving and investment
4. They let markets allocate resources
5. They had committed, credible, and capable governments
The 13 economies each, then, have their idiosyncrasies. But it would be wrong to
conclude that they defy generalization, or that there is no point in learning about their

37
growth paths because the lessons cannot be applied at home. That was not the attitude
the countries themselves took. Policy makers learned by example; case studies had a
pronounced influence; demonstration effects were surprisingly important. It is said
that Deng Xiao ping was strongly influenced by his first encounters with Singapore
and New York City, on a visit to the United Nations.
1. They fully exploited the world economy. During their periods of fast growth, these
13 economies all made the most of the global economy. This is their most important
shared characteristic and the central lesson of this report. Sustained growth at this
pace was not possible before 1950. It became feasible only because the world
economy became more open and more tightly integrated. This opening is not just
about cutting tariffs, but also about expanding the range of goods that can be traded
and included in multilateral trade negotiations.
Properly exploited for the benefit of all citizens, it is one of the most powerful
weapons against poverty. The high-growth countries benefited in two ways. One, they
imported ideas, technology, and know-how from the rest of the world. Two, they
exploited global demand, which provided a deep, elastic market for their goods. The
inflow of knowledge dramatically increased the economy’s productive potential; the
global market provided the demand necessary to fulfill it. To put it very simply, they
imported what the rest of the world knew, and exported what it wanted.
2. They maintained macroeconomic stability. Macroeconomic volatility and
unpredictability damage private sector investment, and hence, growth. During their
most successful periods, the 13 high-growth cases avoided the worst of this
turbulence.
Their quick expansion was accompanied, from time to time, by moderately high
inflation. But prices were stable enough not to scramble market signals, cloud the
view of long-term investors, or deter savers from entrusting their wealth to banks.
Governments were also fiscally responsible. Many ran budget deficits for extended
periods; some nursed high ratios of debt to GDP. But this public debt did not get out
of hand, not least because the economy grew faster than the stock of public liabilities.
3. They mustered high rates of saving and investment. This macroeconomic stability
set the stage for their third characteristic: they all mustered high rates of saving and
investment, not least public investment in infrastructure. They were all “future-
oriented,” forgoing consumption in the present in pursuit of a higher level of income
in the future. In the mid-1970s, Southeast Asia and Latin America had similar savings
rates. Twenty years later, the Asian rate was about 20 percentage points higher. China
has saved more than a third of its national income every year for the past 25 years.
This saving has been accompanied by prodigious rates of domestic investment.
The possible reasons for East Asia’s thrift are: i) The region benefited from favorable
demography. With fewer dependents to take care of, working-age adults had more
scope to put money aside. ii) Macroeconomic stability also helped. Thailand’s saving
rate rose quickly in the 1980s, for example, thanks to tighter government budgets. As
mentioned, these countries also mostly avoided high and unpredictable inflation,
which arbitrarily redistributes wealth from savers to debtors and discourages people
from holding financial assets.

38
Some countries employed more direct measures to enforce thrift. In 1955, Singapore
established a mandatory saving scheme, the Central Provident Fund, which collects
contributions from wages that are primarily saved until retirement, although some
withdrawals for medical and housing have been permitted. Malaysia has a similar
system. Both countries, as well as Japan and Korea, also had postal saving systems,
which catered to the needs of small savers. Their financial systems were, by contrast,
less ready to extend consumer credit. By making it harder to borrow, they may have
made it easier to save.
4. They let markets allocate resources. The 20th century saw many experiments with
alternatives to markets. They were all conclusive failures. It therefore seems safe to
say that markets are a necessary part of the economic structure in order to achieve and
sustain growth.
The high-growth economies all relied on a functioning market system, which
provided price signals, decentralized decision making, and incentives to supply
whatever was in demand. Countries varied in the strength and clarity of their property
rights. But in all cases, firms and entrepreneurs felt they had enough of a claim on
their assets to invest heavily in them.
In Hong Kong, China, the administration was famously laissez faire. Other
governments in our list were more hands-on, intervening with tax breaks, subsidized
credit, directed lending and other such measures. These interventions may have
helped them to discover their comparative advantage— revealing how best to deploy
their endowments of labor and capital. But they did not defy their comparative
advantage. This distinction is conceptually subtle, but economically consequential. An
economy’s endowment of labor, natural resources, and capital dictates its comparative
advantage. But this mandate is very broad. The crowded, coastal economies of East
Asia, for example, had a comparative advantage in labor-intensive manufacturing. But
what line of labor intensive manufacturing, precisely? Using what techniques? Those
answers they had to discover for themselves through trial and error. This process of
“self-discovery” may have been helped along by the government’s hand. What was
not helpful were government efforts to promote heavy industry, before accumulating
the capital required to make it viable.
A country’s comparative advantage will evolve over time. In any period of fast
growth, capital, and especially, labor moves rapidly from sector to sector, industry to
industry. This mobility of resources was a feature of all the 13 high-growth cases.
Governments did not resist (although they may have tempered) the market forces that
pulled people into the urban areas or destroyed some jobs, while creating others.
Growth is about more than economics. It also requires committed, credible, and
capable governments. Their policy makers understood that growth does not just
happen. It must be consciously chosen as an overarching goal by a country’s
leadership. In the fast-growing economies, by contrast, policy makers understood that
successful development entails a decades-long commitment, and a fundamental
bargain between the present and the future.
During this long period of transition, citizens must forgo consumption today in return
for higher standards of living tomorrow. This bargain will be accepted only if the
country’s policy makers communicate a credible vision of the future and a strategy for
getting there. They must be trusted as stewards of the economy and their promises of
future rewards must be believed.

39
Their promise must also be inclusive, leaving citizens confident that they and their
children will share in the benefits. Such leadership requires patience and a long
planning horizon. In several cases, fast-growing economies were overseen by a single-
party government that could expect to remain in power for decades to come. In a
multiparty democracy, on the other hand, governments typically look no further than
the next election. But democracies can nonetheless preside over remarkable passages
of growth.
It is relatively easy to identify the shared characteristics of the high-growth cases and
easy to appreciate their collective importance. But it is hard to know how to replicate
these characteristics. Some of them are the outcome of innumerable decisions and
interactions by firms, households, and government. The business of “feeling for the
stones” in fast-growing economies was often carried out by highly qualified
technocrats in small, dedicated “reform teams”. Reform teams were not burdened with
administrative
duties, but they were given direct access to the top of the government. Malaysia’s
Economic Planning Unit reported directly to the prime minister. From this unique
position—ensconced in the government, but distanced from day-to-day administrative
burdens and immediate political demand—the reform teams helped coordinate the
government’s efforts and overcome administrative opposition and inertia.
Although technocrats unchecked by political forces can fail to balance economic with
political and social concerns, political forces unchecked by technocratic knowledge
can be disruptive. In recent decades, economists have acquired a deeper appreciation
of the underlying institutions that make mature markets work. These institutions
define property rights, enforce contracts, convey information, and bridge
informational gaps between buyers and sellers. These institutions and capabilities may
not be fully formed in a developing economy. Indeed, the immaturity of these
institutions is synonymous with underdevelopment.
That makes it harder to predict how an economy will respond to, say, the removal of a
tariff or the sale of a public asset. Uncertain about how to model developing
economies, we also suspect that the correct model changes over time. A fast-growing
economy is a moving target. Often markets and institutions co-evolve, responding to
the constraints and the demands one places on the other. Land registries, for example,
emerge only after land becomes scarce. Accountancy evolves as and when the capital
markets demand it.
This makes life doubly difficult for policy makers. It is hard to know how the
economy will respond to a policy, and the right answer in the present moment may
not apply in the future. Today’s bad policies are often yesterday’s good policies,
applied for too long. Governing a growing economy is not a static challenge. It is
more akin to a long voyage undertaken with incomplete and sometimes inaccurate
charts.
What then should governments do? What is the optimal size of the state and what are
its proper responsibilities? More ink has been spilled on that question than any other
in development. It is a recurring theme of this report and the debates that preceded it.
One response is to argue that governments should do as little as possible. “That
government is best which governs least,” as the motto goes.

40
Fifteen years ago, much of the discussion of government shared this presumption in
favor of smaller government and freer markets. Its policy conclusions are captured in
the phrase: “Stabilize, privatize, and liberalize.” While there is some merit in what lies
behind this prescription, it is an extremely incomplete statement of the problem. It is
true that bloated government should not crowd out the private sector; regulation
should not be excessive; the economy should be open to trade and competition; and
private investors should be free to earn a remunerative return. The injunction to roll
back the state was also motivated in part by concerns about the motivation and
competence of government. If government’s role is defined too broadly, it may not
have the capacity to perform such an expansive array of functions. Or it may misuse
its broader mandate, pursuing goals other than growth and widespread prosperity,
such as the welfare of vested interests.
But our view of effective government is somewhat different. The issues of
competence and motivation cannot be dismissed. But they cannot be answered by
simply writing government out of the script. Our model of developing economies is
too primitive at this stage to make it wise to predefine what governments should do.
Numerous country case studies suggest that its role evolves over time as its own
capabilities and those of the private sector mature. Our motto then would follow Sir
Arthur Lewis, the great development economist, who observed that “[G]overnments
may fail either because they do too little, or because they do too much.” Some
countries, for example, suffer from too little public investment; others, from too much
government regulation. Some suffer from both problems simultaneously.
The task is to improve the effectiveness of government institutions rather than
stripping them of their tasks. It seems to us that the correct response to uncertainty is
not paralysis but experiment. Governments should not do nothing, out of a fear of
failure. They should test policies, and be quick to learn from failure. If they suffer a
misstep, they should try something else, not plunge ahead or retreat to the shore.
These experiments should, however, be cautious. Each step should be weighed to
generate the greatest amount of information about the economy for the least cost,
should the policy prove to be a misstep. When they choose policies, governments
should ask themselves, what is the worst that could happen? Small experiments are
usually less damaging, should they fail, than big ones. Risk management is an
important aspect of policy formation in developing countries.
China offers examples of such cautious policy making. Its initial reforms in 1978
freed farmers to sell any surplus produce, over and above government production
quotas, on the open market. They responded much as microeconomic theory would
predict. Prices rose, farm output soared, and farmers’ lives improved. On the other
hand, Chinese reformers have been careful not to copy macroeconomic policies from
advanced economies. They knew that the economy early in the reform period would
not respond to macroeconomic variables, like interest rates, in the way predicted by
advanced country models.
Some question this deliberate, step-by-step gradualism. In some cases, “bad times
make good policies.” Crises, which can upset the stable configuration of political
forces, sometimes provide an opening to implement major reform packages that
would otherwise be blocked. However, there are possibly as many examples of crises
leading to bad choices, as there are cases of crises leading to good ones. In short,
crises may remove obstacles to a sound growth strategy, but they cannot ensure that a
sound strategy will indeed be chosen. In this context, leadership and influential and
enlightened technocrats play an enormously important role.

41
“The Commission strongly believes that growth strategies cannot succeed without a
commitment to, giving everyone a fair chance to enjoy the fruits of growth. But equal
opportunities are no guarantee of equal outcomes. Indeed, in the early stages of
growth, there is a natural tendency for income gaps to widen. Governments should
seek to contain this inequality, the Commission believes, at the bottom and top ends
of the income spectrum. Otherwise, the economy’s progress may be jeopardized by
divisive politics, protest, and even violent conflict. Again, if the ethical case does not
persuade, the pragmatic one should” (p.7).
“Equity and equality of opportunity are essential ingredients of sustainable growth
strategies. The benefits of brisk growth are spread widely but not evenly. The rural
poor do gain. But the experience of sustained growth in the modern era clearly
suggests city-dwellers gain more—and to some extent this is inevitable. In the early
stages of development, measured productivity in the cities is often 3–6 times that in
the rural areas. As people move across this divide, measured inequality increases. This
rise is not permanent but it can take decades to run its course. The extent of inequality
needs to be managed.
It is important the distinction between equity and equality of opportunity. The former
concept refers to outcomes or results: people differ greatly in the incomes they earn,
the health they enjoy, the security they possess, and so on. The latter idea, equality of
opportunity, refers to starting points. It turns on such things as access to nutrition,
education, and job opportunities.
People care about both kinds of equality. But they understand that markets do not
produce equal outcomes. They will tolerate this inequality, provided governments
take steps to contain it. Generally, this means two things. One is making sure that
income and essential services are extended to the poorer part of the population. The
second, more controversial, is addressing the upper end of the income distribution,
which in many cases exhibits vast accumulating wealth and appears to be living in a
different, much richer country. Sharing this wealth through the tax system, and
appropriate spending programs, including the funding of service provision and public
sector investment, is an important part of social and political cohesion, and hence of
the sustainability of the growth process. Judgment is required here. Carried to excess,
redistribution can damage incentives and deter investment and risk taking.
Inequality of opportunity, on the other hand, does not involve trade-offs and can be
toxic. This is especially so if opportunities are systematically denied to a group due to
its ethnicity, religion, caste, or gender. Such injustices undermine social peace and
spark political unrest. They will ultimately jeopardize buy-in and derail the
economy’s growth strategy.
The distribution of income in successful, high-growth economies varied a lot:
Botswana had a Gini coefficient of 0.61 in 1993, Indonesia 0.34. But all showed a
commitment to equality of opportunity. Failure on this score harms the economy
directly, by leaving talents underexploited. It also distorts the pattern of investment.
Inequality of opportunity also sows longer-term dangers. Evidence from many
countries suggests people will make great sacrifices for the sake of economic progress
if they believe their children and grandchildren will enjoy a fair share of the rewards.
How can governments safeguard equality of opportunity and contain inequality of
outcomes? The latter goal may be served by redistribution, over and above the
informal sharing arrangements that often prevail in extended families and tight-knit
communities. Equality of opportunity is best served by providing universal access to
public services like health and education, and by meritocratic systems in government
and the private sector.

42
Some of the sharpest divisions fall within the household, where women lack the
opportunities their male relatives enjoy. Some countries still struggle to get girls
through school: almost one out of five girls who enroll does not complete primary
school. They are encumbered by domestic chores or deterred by the lack of basic
facilities like bathrooms. This denial of opportunity can be passed on to the next
generation: women who lack a primary school education are less likely to send their
children to school. Indeed, their children are only about half as likely to survive
infancy. The logical place to try to break this cycle is to focus on the obstacles
(financial, safety, employment opportunities, sanitary facilities, and other) that
prevent girls from completing the journey from school entry to productive
employment. Young women play a pivotal role in education, health, and fertility rates;
they are also potentially successful economic agents. Therefore enabling women to
move successfully through education to productive employment will have a very high
payoff in terms of long-term growth and poverty reduction”.

4.3. Conclusion
The response to the Washington Consensus as it was mostly interpreted as a
neoliberal manifesto reasonably stimulated a new set of policies implemented by
“Washington” in the form of the Augmented Washington consensus. The evolution of
the debate on the set of policies required for international development resulted in
Williamson partially accepting, in the end, the criticisms associated with the original
Washington Consensus. The latest set of policies in the form of the “After the
Washington Consensus” should be viewed as the result of the natural historically
evolutionary process in international development policy. With the proposal of the
“After the Washington Consensus”, Williamson asserted that consensus does not exist
anymore and added new policies without dismissing the original ones. In conclusion,
all these alternative set of polices, the original Washington Consensus, the
‘misinterpretation” of the Washington Consensus as a neoliberal manifesto (Stiglitz),
the Augmented Washington Consensus (Rodrik), and subsequently and finally
followed by the “AfterWashington Consensus” were (Kuczynski. and Williamson)
indispensable components for the establishment of a “consensus”. At the end, there
might likely only be an “uncertain consensus”.
The Washington consensus must be placed in the context of evolution of the
economic development discourse. This evolution has been argued to be dialectical in
nature. The consensus of the 1980s was a reaction to the well established consensus of
the previous three decades. However, challenges to the Washington consensus
emerged no sooner than it had been formulated, in the realm of ideas (which drew on
elements of the earlier consensus) and from outcomes on the ground. As a result, the
strong positions taken up by the economic development policy making elite had to be
and were modified. The process has been ongoing, but the new consensus is perhaps
best captured by the recent report of the Commission on Growth and Development
(2008).
The new consensus keeps key elements of the shift away from the post-second-world-
war consensus, but restores other elements, and adds new ingredients of its own. As a
result, it is eclectic and not as sharp and as focused as the orthodoxy of the 1980s. It
can be consired the basis for a deeper discussion of where exactly along the policy
spectrum, along each dimension, a country should aim for in order to achieve the long
run objective of economic development.

43
The Growth Commission report is a remarkable document, not only because it is the
consensus of a group of people who represent, if any group could so represent, the
policy making elite on economic development. It is also remarkable because it reflects
the debates and discussions of the past two decades and earlier, and an evolution in
stance as a result of those debates. It is clearly more market and trade oriented than
the consensus of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. In some ways it is fully consistent with the
shift away from that consensus that came about in the 1980s. The Growth
Commission adfirms that market orientation should play a central role, and that
sustained growth cannot be attained without an outward orientation. But in many
other ways it is a departure from the consensus of the 1980s or from the so called
Washington Consensus if you will. Here are no certainties of a “one size fits all”
stance, and of the negotiating mindset. There is openness to country specificities.
Distributional concerns are center-stage. A broader perspective on development—
including education, health, environment—is adopted.
Dani Rodrik (2008) sums it up best: “The Spence report represents a watershed for
development policy – as much for what it says as for what it leaves out. Gone are
confident assertions about the virtues of liberalization, deregulation, privatization,
and free markets. Also gone are the cookie cutter policy recommendations unaffected
by contextual differences. Instead, the Spence report adopts an approach that
recognizes the limits of what we know, emphasizes pragmatism and gradualism, and
encourages governments to be experimental…. The Spence report reflects a broader
intellectual shift within the development profession, a shift that encompasses not just
growth strategies but also health, education, and other social policies. …It is to
Spence’s credit that the report manages to avoid both market fundamentalism and
institutional fundamentalism. Rather than offering facile answers such as “just let
markets work” or “just get governance right,” it rightly emphasizes that each country
must devise its own mix of remedies. Foreign economists and aid agencies can supply
some of the ingredients, but only the country itself can provide the recipe…. If there is
a new Washington consensus, it is that the rulebook must be written at home, not in
Washington”

44
REFERENCES

- Bhagwati J., In Defense of Globalization, New York: Oxford University Press.


Blustein, Paul. 2001.
- Commission on Growth and Development (2008), Final Report, pp. 17-31, 33-69.
http://www.growthcommission.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9
6&Itemid=169
- Fracasso A., Targetti F., Le sfide della globalizzazione, Brioschi editore, 2008.
- Kanbur R., The Strange Case of the Washington Consensus: A Brief Note on John
Williamson’s ‘What Should the Bank Think About the Washington Consensus?”,
Cornell University, 1999.
http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/sk145/papers/Washington%20Consensus.pdf
- Kanbur R., The Co-Evolution of the Washington Consensus and the Economic
Development Discourse, 2008www.people.cornell.edu/pages/sk145
-Kuczynski P.P., Williamson J., After the Washington Consensus: Restarting Growth
and Reform in Latin America, Institute for International Economics, Washington
D.C., 2003,
pagg .1-73, 157-179, 265-331.
http://bookstore.petersoninstitute.org/book-store/350.html
- Marangos J., What happened to the Washington Consensus? The evolution of
international development policy, The Journal of Socio-Economics 38 (2009) 197–
208
- Prasad E., Raghuram R., A Pragmatic Approach to Capital Account Liberalization”,
2008, Journal of Economic Perspectives.
-Rodrik D., After neoliberalism, what?, “Alternatives to Neoliberalism” Washington
D.C., 2002
http://www.new-rules.org/docs/afterneolib/rodrik.pdf
- Rodrick D., Rethinking Economic Growth in Developing Countries, Harvard
University, October 2004
(http://ksghome.harvard.edu/~drodrik/Luca_d_Agliano_Lecture_Oct_2004.pdf)
- Stiglitz J.E., More instruments and broader goals. Moving toward the post-
Washington Consensus, The 1998 Wider Annual Lecture, 1998.
(http://www2.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/jstiglitz/download/2005_More_Instruments.p
df)
Rodrik, D., “Is There a New Washington Consensus?”, 2008,
http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/rodrik20
- Stiglitz J., Globalization and its Discontents.,New York: Norton, 2002.
- Summers L., Response to Devesh Kapur, Pratap Mehta and Arvind Subramanian,
2008,
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2008/05/did-larry-summe.html
- Williamson J., What Washington means by policy reform. In John Williamson (ed.),
Latin American Adjustment: How Much Has Happened? Washington: Institute for
International Economics, 1990.
- Williamson J., The Washington Consensus as Policy Prescription for Development,
World Bank, January 13, 2004
http://www.iie.com/publications/papers/williamson0204.pdf
- World Bank, Economic Growth in the 1990s: Learning from a Decade of Reform,
World Bank: Washington, DC, 2005.
http://www1.worldbank.org/prem/lessons1990s/

45
46