Just Who Is Violating the "Washington Consensus"?

How are the United States, the EU and Japan performing against the yardstick often applied to developing countries?

April 23, 2004

How are the United States, the EU and Japan performing against the yardstick often applied to developing countries?

There are some facts people simply refuse to hear. For example, if you are overweight, you are required to eat less and exercise more.

If you are in debt, you need to earn more and spend less. And if you cannot find the job you want, you must take the job you find.

In this regard, governments are no different from individuals. In order for them to borrow money, they must meet creditors' conditions.

If world prices harm some producers or consumers, those prices nevertheless remain the terms by which countries trade.

Neither countries — nor individuals — can afford to ignore the various constraints they face. They must do the best they can within whatever limitations they have been placed under.

A number of such unpleasant truisms applying to national economic policy were codified in 1990 by John Williamson — and named the "Washington Consensus."

This Consensus consists of some of these recommendations: