Talk:Washington Consensus

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American Financial Collapse?[edit]

I was thinking of editing this article to include a discussion of the recent american economic recession. I think this is a great point to illustrate the dangers of allowing a unregulated market system of financialization to roam free. It is ironic the americans the greators of the washington concensus do not even adhere to their own policy. They should be strictly non-interventionist and according to their own neoliberal policy should not have bailed out their banks. Any thoughts? I am sure there are some good David Harvey texts to cite for this argument. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 206.108.31.35 (talk) 16:34, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Old comments[edit]

Actually the redirection of funds is very central in the consensus. When looking at government spending in the former Soviet Union most countries have been overspending on military and prestigious 'pet-projects' of certain politicians and high ranking administrators. Cutting overall spending and transferring the remaining funds to the three areas of health, education and infrastructure has been advocated in almost cases of policy-recommendations in eastern and central Europe. Also the structure of post-planned economies tend to over-spend on low productive sectors, and thus have a large scope of delivering more for the buck as resources can be transferred to sectors with higher productivity gains. Albeit this may be a seemingly eastern European situation, the same applied to the economies of the Americas. John Williamson was very happy to point this out in his summary of the 1989 consensus as I'm sure you know. Guessing, there is probably a correlation between a opaque non-democratic state and the amount of governmental spending being wasted in non-productive spending, but, as I mentioned, this is a wild guess! Oh yes, I'll be happy to write three addendums after Christmas (when my stupid thesis is done) explaining the evolutionary institutionalist perspective, relating around the application of the WC in eastern Europe and explaining the rise of the post-Washington consensus. Does anyone please feel like helping out? Tim 13:28, 18 December 2005 (UTC)


Hardly NPOV: Neoliberal bible since 1989. It advocated shock therapy for Russia after 1992 but switched to institution building in late 1990's. Not really a "consensus". More like a dynamic flowchart of Capitalist world governance. - - Zoe

And now the change is an interview by someone who is not identified with someone who is not identified. Not only not encyclopedic, but probably copyrighted. -- Zoe

Dr. Mahathir is the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Other than that, quite so, Zoe. There is a widely held view in most of the world that broadly agres with what he says here (in the deleted interview), and that should certainly be represented here on Wikipedia(if it is not already). Anonymous poster, I suggest you sit down and write it up in your own words. Tannin

This looks like it belongs either in the metapedia or the trashcan... it's an interview, not an article. KJ

"Redirection of public spending toward education, health and infrastructure investment" Is this statement really correct? The Washington Consensus don't recommend redirection, but a halt to public spending. For example, Kenya stopped financing Nairobi University and health system in 1989 after signing the said Consensus 142.51.21.5 01:04, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)

copper[edit]

oh hell no. ok anon recent contributor before you insert a POV change as you have just done you have to provide citations that nationalized copper was a dominant factor in Chilean economic growth during the '80s and '90s, because nothing else was nationalized. like give us a stiglitz quote or something. kthx. J. Parker Stone 11:53, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Brazil[edit]

Well, I added the reference to Brazil on the list of countries that adopted the policies of the Washington Consensus, but Brazil will remain on the list of countries that oppose the consensus as well, since the current government (as of August 2005) actively opposes the consensus but was unable to change the economic program (Plano Real) implemented by the previous administration (pro-consensus). It seems reasonable (a tad confusing, however) to keep it in both lists. zanderredux 20:07, August 1, 2005 (UTC)

basic definition (why is it called the Washington Consensus)?[edit]

Why is it called the Washington Consensus? Consensus among whom?

It's called the Washington Consensus because it's been general Washington policy (economists, politicans, what have you) since the '90s and probably stretching back to the '80s, possibly further. You know, the whole push for free trade, tariff elimination, all that. J. Parker Stone 02:44, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

Left-wing or not left-wing?[edit]

I've pulled out the some of the labelling of critics ("left-wing", "anti-capitalist"), for a couple of reasons. One is that left/moderate/right varies according to where you are and when you are. When Thatcherism (for example) was introduced in the UK in the 1980s, it was as considered very right-wing. Second is that the criticisms listed under "Socialist" are made by some, including Stiglitz, who could hardly be considered left-wing (unless dis/agreement with the WC is supposed to define left/rightism). And third, if the subheading "Socialist" is correct (and I think it's broadly useful, altho' could do with more explaining as to how these are capital S Socialist criticisms), then "left" within the article is redundant. For reason two, I've also removed "anti-capitalist", on the grounds that I am a capitalist and would object to the happenings described in this para ("Socialist" §2) if they proved to be true. I think "anti-globalist" remains useful, as (so far as I understand) a central plank of anti-globalist feeling is that such occurrences are inevitable under the current form of globalization. JackyR 18:04, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

You're right, the nature of these labels varies considerably with time and place. Always the trouble with political articles. Maybe we should change the "socialist" heading to "anti-globalization" or something to that effect. What do you think? Kwertii 20:00, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with it being described as the "anti-globalization" movement -- however, globalization is essentially a part of today's capitalism, and several (I would argue the vast, vast majority, if you look at the protests at the WTO and whatnot) anti-globalizationists are anti-capitalist and leftist (if not anarchist, socialist, or some Marxist variant,) yes. And "left-wing" has a definition. One country's mainstream politics may be dominated by the Left, but that does not make its definition relative -- the country's govt. is still left-wing; it being mainstream doesn't change that. Dr. Trey 01:44, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Umm, agree with but don't understand implication of DrTrey's last sentence. Explain relevance to this sub-section? The foregoing I'm afraid I completely disagree with. 1) Yes, globalization is a part of today's capitalism, but is not an essential part of the concept of capitalism. "Anti-capitalist" suggests someone who wants an alternative to capitalism, eg communism, whereas it's quite possible to want capitalism, but a different form of capitalism from today's. Extreme example: in the C19th slave-owners tried to link capitalism with slavery; anti-slavery campaigners were largely capitalist - they just didn't believe in slavery. (NB I'm NOT saying globabalization = slavery.) And 2) many of the protesters at the recent G8 meeting (Make Poverty History) were from charities and faith groups. There were doubtless also many anti-capitalists present, but that doesn't make the others anti-capitalist. Would it not be safer to say that the vast, vast majority of anti-capitalists are anti-globalization, rather than the other way round? 3) I'm confused that "anti-capitalist" and "leftist" appear as equivalent in yr first sentence. Did you mean this? JackyR 20:54, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
OK, I haven't been very constructive above. I realise that what's eating me about the current wording is that it feels as if you would have to belong to each of the named labels before you would make the criticisms or even observations which follow. How about we re-structure a little so that a non-controversial description of the effects of particular WC policies is followed by the labelled criticism of these? Eg, it's not controversial in plain fact that WC policies open labour markets in developing countires and many First World companies have moved manufacturing there because wages are lower. What's controversial is: Is this a Good Thing? (the answer depending on your values and ideology, which leads to the labels). I'd be glad to do this with consensus, 'cause I don't wish to introduce inaccuracies. Will be off Wiki for a few days but am not ignoring you! JackyR 21:09, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

weasel-worded criticism in intro[edit]

This article was just fine before it got front page exposure. The intro was succinct and made no preference either way. Your barrage of unsourced criticism included the claim "NPOV" in its summary, so tell me, where is the refutation to this criticism, or any other counter-argument whatsoever? certainly not in the intro. There is only one side presented there. On what planet is that considered NPOV? There's a perfectly good section for arguments and counter-arguments and it's not the introduction.

The fact that the is weasel-worded was actually just a parenthetical issue, and certainly doesn't protect it from being POV. But since you wish to argue it, I don't like citations in the intro either. However I am not aware of any rule or guideline prohibiting it, unlike weasel wording. Notice for example the featured article on Hugo Chavez has many citations in the introduction. I agree that it looks ugly. Let's not go down that road. Leave the criticism in the criticism section instead, where it belongs. 69.233.150.250 02:00, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

gotta agree. there's more than sufficient criticism without adding it to the intro. Dr. Trey 02:06, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
The article has a lot of weasel words; I'm adding the {{weasel}} template in the header to serve both as a warning and as a request for help from other users... users who can edit the article and leave it weasel-free. --_N_e_g_r_u_l_i_o 15:09, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

it is way too dependent on dani rodrik, is he even a major economist, i havent heard of him before this economist. his comments are certainly not worthy of the space they received. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.193.110.10 (talk) 21:23, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

I totally agree, this was either written by dani rodrik or one of his Harvard students. The over citation of Harvard is a huge red flag. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pedroserano (talkcontribs) 06:55, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Eastern European reform + evolutionary[edit]

This article about the Washington Consensus omits maybe the area where the impact has been the largest of late. Eastern Europe, while countries such as Poland and East Germany have been reformed (at least initially) by WC guidelines, even Russia's reforms have been influenced (but then not stringently applied, which many argue is the problem with Russian reform.)

Also I would like to point out that the economist Gérard Roland has written an excellent paper on the Evolutionary-Institutionalist perspective on reform. While this is still somewhat of an academic discussion it's actually one of the main schools of criticism to date and must be included in the main article.

Someone feel like filling this in? I don't want to write the article because my English is so bad, but do you agree with me that this should be included. I'll happily help out as much as possible.

Sounds good. I'll happily edit such an article into good English, but you'll have to write it... Drop something on my user talk page, if you like! JackyR 23:15, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

The emergance of the post washington consensus[edit]

is also something worth adding, could have a look at Ten years of transition a review article by Marie Lavigne (Communist and Post-Communist studies 33, year 2000) about the development of a post-WC. Emphasis is slightly shifted but the core remains, after all the problem with much of the criticism is that people who advocate infant-industry protection etc do not understand economics.

Venezuela[edit]

Venezuela adopted the Washington consensus in the 1980s (to considerable strife) but are only listed as opposing the Consensus. Shouldn't the country also be listed under countries that have implemented the policies even though many of those policies have been subsequently reversed?

Saline

Russia[edit]

Russian government followed Washington Consensus in 1992-1998 (see History of post-Soviet Russia), but later abandoned it. IMHO we should create a separate list of countries which joined Washington Consensus once, but today use other policies. гык 07:54, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Not serious[edit]

This article is not serious and is also incomplete and/or incorrect. Many countries in Latin America adopted the "Washington Consensus list of things to do" in the 90's, and we can see what happened. Argentina crisis after 10 years of "Washington Consensus Formula", Ecuatorian crisis, Venezuelan crisis, just to name a few. I hope this article can be re-written by a non-positivist or liberal fanatic. Thanks.

"Mainstream economists"?[edit]

I am skeptical of the use of this term, because I think it is an indirect form of "weasel words" usage. An examination of the cites offered as "mainstream" economists suggests that it would be more appropriate to call them either "neoliberal" or simply "pro-Washington Consensus." I see that there are complaints earlier on this page about critics of the Consensus being labeled as "Left-Wing," which is the flip side of the same tactic. We would be better off using more neutral terms. I propose "supporters of the Consensus" and "critics of the consensus," as opposed to "Mainstream" and "Left-wing." --HonourableSchoolboy 22:04, 28 February 2007 (UTC)


Response: The text of this section as curently written reflects several decades of direct experience working with large numbers of professional development economists and policy-makers in many different countries and of very many different political backgrounds. The economic and social policies followed by the overwhelming number of Latin American countries ranging from Chile, Peru and Brazil on the so-called left to Colombia and Mexico on the so-called right, share a great deal in common, including having turned their backs on "heterodox" macroeconomics and "go-it-alone" anti-globalization a long time ago (as, indeed, have China and Vietnam -- this is not an "assertion," it is widely recognized by those who study these countries). What these policy-makers and most working economists discuss when they meet is not "shall we abandon the policies of the Washington consensus?" but "how can we go beyond them to improve our performance on productivity or poverty-alleviation?" To label this group "neo-liberal" is to adopt a caricature: no one in real life believes what neo-liberals are "supposed" to believe. "Supporters of the Consensus" also misses the point, as what they are trying to do is to go beyond it. I would be open to other users' suggestions for names that would be both neutral and informative -- but these two don't meet that standard. Nandt1 00:28, 1 March 2007 (UTC)


Further note. I have now removed the "mainstream" phrase which caused the complaint about alleged "weasel-wording." I would like to think this will settle the matter. However, I see that, on a number of other occasions, Honourable Schoolboy has had difficulty accepting the concept that large portions of the economics profession do agree on certain propositions (see, e.g., the comments on Larouche arguments in the interminable editing war over the Wikipedia Free Trade article). What is written in this section does reflect the conclusions of a very large number of informed professionals and policy-makers, which it is reasonable for an encyclopedia to record. Let's try to avoid another Free Trade war here. Nandt1 11:23, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

"The text of this section as curently written reflects several decades of direct experience working with large numbers of professional development economists and policy-makers in many different countries and of very many different political backgrounds." See WP:NOR.
There had been a "weasel words" tag on this article until January 25, when I went over it carefully, and then removed the tag. Since that time there have been a very large number of anonymous edits, many proclaiming that everybody and his brother supports the Washington Consensus, which is very much like the way the Free Trade article reads -- in other words, it has become an advocacy article, intended to persuade the reader that "everyone" supports WC or FT, and that there are no serious critics. This is not encyclopediac. --HonourableSchoolboy 14:49, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Response: First, to possess extensive personal experience in the area one is writing about is not inconsistent with contributing to Wikipedia -- despite occasional appearances to the contrary -- as long as one also documents one's writings with sources, which is done extensively here. Knowledge per se is not "original research."

More importantly, the text of this article, taken as a whole, expounds the often radically-opposed views of a range of different groups on the issues raised by the Washington Consensus. We have the views of Anti-globalizer and Neo-Keynesian critics, communicated in reasonable length (and by no means unsympathetically to their views). We have an analyis of the situation in Argentina from a specific perspective that, to put it no more strongly, is certainly not shared by all informed professional analysts (several who have published and who would not agree have been cited). Likewise a list of countries that may or may not have embraced the Washington Consensus -- again, a matter hardly lending itself to consensus. Adding a section ("Beyond the Washington Consensus") which explains that many professional analysts and policy-makers take (and have documented very extensively in the literature cited here) significantly different positions from those already expounded in detail and at length elsewhere in the article, adds a degree of balance to the article which it would not otherwise contain (the suggestion that the views of the critics are submerged, and that the article suggests that everyone and his brother supports the consensus is just not borne out by the text itself). It is striking that "Honourable Schoolboy" chooses to tag only this section -- without which the article would give a highly unbalanced account of the current state of the debate.

Here is a specific proposal. To imagine that we are going to get to an account of a single consensus view of the WC is unrealistic. The best we can hope for is an account that expounds as fairly and accurately as possible what each of the contending groups has to say. Present section is compatible with that goal. Without it, the article would not be. Respectfully suggest that if Honourable Schoolboy feels that any of the critiques -- or the explanation of who embraces them -- are inadequately communicated, he seeks to improve those sections, but not seek to suppress an important set of voices that play a significant in the published debate. Nandt1 17:30, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

I am not suggesting that the pro-Washington Consensus viewpoint be suppressed. I am only asking that it be neutrally identified as the "pro-Washington Consensus viewpoint," as opposed to being called less neutral things, such as, for example, "the mainstream viewpoint," "the non-Communist viewpoint," or "the viewpoint of the good guys." --HonourableSchoolboy 00:09, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, HS, we should all be in favor of neutral terms -- i.e., terms which can be accepted both by those who endorse a position and those who critique it. Neither glorifying nor vilifying. Sadly, in practise, your latest proposed edit, which would seek to identify all those who would build on the Consensus rather than abandon it specifically with the IMF, does not embody "neutrality," does it? Let's please all practise what we preach on this discussion page, and really try to avoid weasel words, not just say we are going to do so. I am proposing a new effort at neutrality. Nandt1 13:32, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

The Weasel template[edit]

Bolded some examples...

The Washington Consensus is the target of sharp criticism by some individuals and groups, who argue that it is a way to open up less developed countries to investments from large multinational corporations and their wealthy owners in advanced First World economies, which the critics would view as a negative development. As of 2006, several Latin American countries are led by socialist governments, some of which openly oppose the Washington Consensus. Critics frequently cite the Argentine economic crisis of 1999-2002 as a case in point of why the Washington Consensus policies are flawed, as they argue that Argentina had previously implemented most of the Washington Consensus policies as directed: some economists, by contrast, question how closely Argentina had in fact followed the Consensus policies.

From Neo-Keynesian criticisms: In addition, some argue that the package of policies does not take into account economic and cultural differences between countries.

I thought it went without saying once you looked at WP:WEASEL. Even the nutshell should be able to give you the idea. However, someone (mennonot) felt free to leave me a message stating otherwise, so this is my clarification. -66.245.150.108 03:58, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Response: Actually, if you read on beyond the opening section, you will find that the article provides detailed descriptions and/or citations for who the "individuals and groups" are, which "socialist governments" oppose it, the names of a number of "economists" who challenge the account of Argentina, and so on and so on...... In the matter of citations and "weasel words" please keep in mind the danger of being "more Catholic than the Pope" -- also known as "seeing the tree but missing the forest."

Based on the above, I have removed the weasel word tag.

Nandt1 03:50, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

npov tag[edit]

I see we had to stuff the introduction with detailed criticism again. And the whole article gives undue weight to people who clearly hate anything associated with capitalism or the name "Washington" (and apparently foam at the mouth according to Williamson). Do we really need three quarters of the article to be about that knee-jerk crap? It's supposed to be a macroeconomics article. 71.128.195.213 (talk) 05:05, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Read the piece again, slowly and carefully. Is the introduction really "stuffed" with "detailed" criticism?? Actually, some of us have labored quite hard on this article to ensure that, without trying to censor or suppress the critical voices -- a pointless exercise on Wikipedia -- expressions of these views are balanced throughout by references to offsetting assessments (including hard evidence). To imagine that an article on this subject can be (or is "supposed" to be) about macroeconomics in some bloodless apolitical sense is just unrealistic. Nandt1 (talk) 12:04, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Taking a further look at the article in the light of the npov complaint above, I am now willing to propose deleting the section on the "Helsinki process" -- a description of a conference that does not seem to add much if anything of substance to the critiques of the Washington Consensus that are already reported at some length elsewhere in the article. I have made this change in the main text. Nandt1 (talk) 11:43, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

I disagree with this tag. I've worked on this topic before and I believe the article is quite good and not at all giving undue weight to anyone. There's a neutral description of the term, its implications and a quote from the person who coined the term. If there is a problem with the introduction (which I find quite informative and totally unbiased as well) then another tag is needed for the article. Unless anyone else has a problem with this, I believe the NPOV tag should be removed.--Madgirl 15 (talk) 22:49, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
In case it is not already obvious, I also feel the tag is unwarranted. Nandt1 (talk)03:21, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Wikpedia guidelines call for disputes of this kind to be resolved promptly. With no one coming forward to defend the anonymously-posted NPOV tag, I propose to delete the tag now. Anyone who disagrees is of course at liberty to revive it. Nandt1 (talk) 11:35, 11 May 2008 (UTC) Nandt1 (talk) 11:35, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

you disagree me hence I'm wrong huh? How about I propose to put it back and just blanket disagree with everything you said. It has only been 2 weekdays. 71.128.195.213 (talk) 21:50, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
I also responded in disagreement with this tag. Perhaps you could better explain the problems you have with the article with specific examples and the page can be improved.--Madgirl 15 (talk) 22:13, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
Tags are, indeed, supposed to be resolved (and removed) quickly. This requires the user posting the tag to make specific proposals to improve the article. Nandt1 (talk) 01:53, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
Well for starters I referred to "detailed criticism" in the introduction. Not especific enough still? I'll be more specific by editing the article itself. 71.128.195.213 (talk) 04:21, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
There's a few things I'd like to comment on:

The term has attracted a great deal of debate outside of economics as well, being criticized publicly by Latin American politicians, while proponents argue those same politicians implement most of the reforms in their own governments. In the political arena the term is used more loosely, particularly by critics, with various meanings possibly including an expanding role of market forces, constraining the role of the state, neo-liberalism or market fundamentalism, or American influence. Criticism of the Washington Consensus has often been associated with, or accused of being associated with, Socialism, anti-globalism, and anti-americanism. In particular critics have blamed the Washington Consensus for particular economic crises of the 1990's such as Argentina, and Latin American wealth inequalities, while others argue the reform package is being used as a scapegoat for governments' financial mismanagement.

It isn't criticized publicly ONLY by Latin American politicians. Proponents really argue this? Which reforms are we referring to? The Washington Consensus reforms? What do these politicians actually do? Maybe it's the wording of the sentence that has me confused. In particular, critics have blamed the Washington Consensus for particular economic crises? Too many "particulars"? A scapegoat for governments' financial mismanagement? Perhaps another word may be used for those who are not familiar with this concept? I really have never heard this before about the Washington Consensus.--Madgirl 15 (talk) 02:19, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Cut me some slack. That's a pretty sweeping summary I just whipped out in one shot. I'm not married to any "particular" words. I didn't say "Only", does it even make sense to read it like that? When are politicians the only ones making some argument? But they are certainly the most notable when they enter the debate, wouldn't you say? One proponent would be Williamson referring to Lula, no?. I only said "reforms" as a synonym for WC which I was getting tired of repeating so frequently. I see the article doesn't use the term for the WC; It'd be best to add that earlier. I really don't see an issue with "scapegoat" myself. What would you prefer, "unfair target of blame"? The intro still doesn't even address pro-WC arguments, just anti and counter-arguments to the anti 71.128.195.213 (talk) 07:32, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

I was planning to wish you luck with your edits, and to warn you -- as a veteran at this game -- that every time you write about "proponents say this" and "critics say that", you are going to have other readers jumping down your throat and asking for citations, etc. But I see that I am too late to give you this warning. Bear in mind that Wikipedia users, especially on sensitive issues, really take the exact language you use very seriously. Nandt1 (talk) 13:04, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Well no amount of forewarning will result in my producing perfect prose that pleases everyone.
The proponents vs. critics approach was there before my edits, but I do think it sounds better than the passive voice also present.
Anyway I'm not disputing the article because I want to own the introduction, anyone can of course edit my crap or replace it. I'm disputing it it largely because the times in the past when I moved the who, what, when, where and why criticism out of the intro and placed it somewhere more appropriate, someone reverted it. That is one very lame thing that happens in political arguing here, people pushing the most negative-sounding language as early as possible in articles. 71.128.195.213 (talk) 14:58, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Fine. I'd like to give you a fair chance to reshape the article before I consider weighing in again. Maybe you could let us know when you consider your present round of edits to the piece complete? Nandt1 (talk) 12:22, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm about done all I have the energy for. There's a lot of irrelevant stuff in the body though. What is the point of that NAFTA section? 71.128.195.213 (talk) 06:52, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Reverting Anticia's request for citations[edit]

Hello, You tagged the introduction's statement that many economists question how far Argentina had adopted the Washington Consensus, requesting citations for this (your description of your own edit refers to Venezuela, but the relevant text reference is to Argentina, so I assume the latter is the country that you intended to refer to?). If you will keep reading the article beyond the introduction, you will find in the full text a detailed discussion of the arguments over Argentina's policy mix, as well as several citations. Nandt1 (talk) 23:34, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Dropping Country Lists[edit]

I am proposing that we scrap the country lists in the article that have purported to inventory countries that either are said to have implemented reforms in line with the Washington Consensus, or whose governments are said to be opposed to the Washington Consensus. Reviewing these lists, it seems fairly obvious that we have not been able to find any objective way of classifying countries into these two sets. Does one rely on governments' rhetoric or on their actions? How many of the ten points does a country need to have implemented to qualify as following the consensus? Are some of the ten points more important than others? Over how long a period are we conducting the analysis? And so on. Frankly, any contributor has been able to select whatever standards he or she chose. This section never approached the objectivity that is expected of an encyclopedia, and it is hard to see any prospect of it doing so. Nandt1 (talk) 02:40, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 03:20, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

On recent changes to lede[edit]

Was going to revert the recent changes to the lede as based on my underdanding of Dev, IPE and global macro, the older version was much better. Having noticed the changes were made by a long term contributor, Ive changed my mind, except for this sentence: "Successors to the Washington Consensus have been announced on various occasions: most recently, in November 2010, the G20 group of governments declared their agreement on a Seoul Development Consensus." We have a source in the body that mentions the SDC together with the WC, but it doesnt say the SDC was announced as a successor. So that sentence seemed to be original research. I also think its plain wrong - AFAIK the G20 didnt explicitly announce the SDC was a successor to the WC (despite what you might hear from one or two less than totally scrupulous analysts) - it would have been an inept thing to do considering the negative perception many have about the WC. Still dont like the other changes, and especially I think it useful for our readers to have dates about the WC era, but I guess thats a matter of opinion. FeydHuxtable (talk) 12:49, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Dear Feyd, Well speaking as that long-termer (hear these old bones creak!), thank you for the second thoughts! Obviously, as my contributions show, I think it makes sense, logically and for that matter historically, to discuss Williamson's definition first and then go on to the broader usage. On the "successor" question, I don't feel strongly that it has to be phrased that way, though I think a trawl of the record would in fact show a series of such declarations (I remember, for example, talk of a "Santiago Consensus" after the second Summit of the Americas in Chile in the late 1990s, and there have been others but I don't recall them all); if one declares a [Name of City] Consensus, one is -- whether explicitly or implicitly -- riffing off of the original. But as I said, who cares about this point one way or the other. As to the timing of the Rise and Fall of the WC, I do think Williamson gets the essential point right: It all depends what you mean. To try to write about timing without keeping the distinction between the two different definitions clear, I'd suggest, is a recipe for confusion. Anyway, good luck with your future efforts. Nandt1 (talk) 15:29, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
IMO having the Williamson definition first was logical up until about 2009. But things have moved on since then, the WC is now something we can look back on with historical perspective, arguably even in the narrow sense (e.g. in contrast to point 7 (which on the ground was largely interpreted as meaning get rid of all capital controls ), developing and emerging economies are now encouraged to deliberlise inbound capital flows – see for example this paper ) That paper also gives start and end dates for the WC without making a distinction between the possible definitions, which is also the case for the Skidelsky source in the article. IMO during the last 2 years or so, when folk use the term Washington Consensus they invariably mean the broad sense, except perhaps if the context is specifically Dev related. For me Williamson is not best placed to have an objective perspective on this, especially as his version has attracted so much (unfair) criticism.
Anyway this should all become clearer over the next few years as we get more sources placing the WC in economic history. I dont anticipate making too many changes in the near future - this is a very hard topic to write about spanning multiple disciplines and having thousands of sources to read. As we've obviously got v different ideas on how to organise the material we don’t need things made worse by too many cooks. Thanks very much for your work building the article, its definitely a very fair and decent summary of a challenging topic, even if it isnt presented quite as I would have done. And thanks for your best wishes, I will certainly need all the luck I can get for my next mission! FeydHuxtable (talk) 16:33, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for this response. I actually don't see the overall article (as distinct from the lede) as especially well-organized. It has grown like Topsy, and those of us who have labored on it in the past have at best managed to add a bit of off-setting balance when one or another section seemed to veer off in one direction or another. A full-scale reorganization would be a major effort and would no doubt tread on a number of toes; I am not sure that I for one have the energy. Regarding JW's point 7 which you raise, I would just point out that he was careful to speak specifically of foreign direct investment (FDI), which is quite different from the hot money speculative flows that are the main source of concern and the target of most capital controls. This distiction, I think we can be confident, was no accident on his part. And a good many countries have in fact made that distinction in their actual policies: China, Chile, etc. Again, best of luck going forward! Nandt1 (talk) 16:57, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
Youre absolutely right about FDI – most actual sets of CCs and the emerging consensus on Macroprudential policy clearly differentiate between hot money and FDI (with the latter properly understood as long term investments in plant and the like; annoyingly, some commentators have a broader view about what counts as FDI!) . This is why I said about how p7 was interpreted on the ground as getting rid of all CCs . I guess this might really apply to WC in the third intermediate sense ( applying to economic policy for just developing countries, but in a more general neoliberal way than JW's 10 points). The Ravenhill GPE source talks about this 3rd sense, though I thought it would just over complicate the article to add it. Yes this subject certainly needs a lot of energy to discuss let alone write!
There might not be as much of a 'treading on toes' issue as one might think. Its seems to have been just us two who have made more than one significant edit in the last year or so. Ive rewritten close to a dozen global macro related article and encountered almost no objection, in this topic class even articles with 1000 or more views per day don't seem to have many active editors watchlisting. Id support you removing the pesky tags after only minor improvements as some allowance should be made for the complexity of the topic. Good luck to you also! FeydHuxtable (talk) 17:31, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
You clearly have no pity for the elderly! I make no promises, but if the spirit takes me maybe I'll try to do some more cleaning up here at some stage. Nandt1 (talk) 18:38, 10 August 2011 (UTC)


Recent edits take article in a POV direction[edit]

This has always been a problematic article, with a tendency to invite editing from one ideological point of view or another. It never achieved full encyclopedic neutrality, but seemed for a while to have attained at least some degree of balance. Now, however, recent extensive edits -- not discussed here -- have had the impact of imparting a signficantly stronger POV flavor to the piece overall. The distinction which some of us had labored to make between the two very different definitions of the "Consensus" -- i.e., between Williamson's ten points versus a broad neo-liberal/free market agenda -- has now once again been largely blurred, so that the new version can declare the Consensus dead (QED) without being clear which version it is talking about. It is always a warning sign when a big deal is made in discussions of this type of the experience of one particular country -- especially one that is small and has highly distinctive circumstances: our new lede celebrates the recent growth rate of tiny Bolivia (!) as supposedly rebutting the WC (in which version??). But -- in the absence of catastrophic levels of mismanagement (admittedly not always a safe assumption) -- Bolivia's economy largely rises and falls on the strength of world markets for its natural resource-based exports; to try to draw larger conclusions about the merits of alternative policy approaches based on whether Bolivia is doing well or poorly at any particular time really does miss the point! If fresh efforts now need to be made to try to restore some clarity and balance to the article, perhaps we will find contributors willing to roll the stone back up the hill. Or perhaps it will just go on being used as an ideological football.... Nandt1 (talk) 19:30, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Digging further into the above, I found that the recent very drastic and POV edits to this article, which I highlighted above, were made by a user with essentially no other record on Wkipedia. There is a suggestion at the User page that this may have been undertaken by a student as a class project. Given the degree to which the edits made the article much less encyclopedic in tone and much more POV than it had been (and the complete disregard for any discussion here), I am reverting the article back to the state it was in immediately before the new editor got to work on it in early March: this frankly seems the most practical approach to the problem created here. Perhaps teachers can come up with less disruptive class projects in future.... Nandt1 (talk) 19:09, 25 April 2012 (UTC) Maybe I should clarify that, in reverting back to the text we had in early March, I do not mean to suggest that this version was at all optimal -- indeed there is a lot that could be improved in it, and I hope that such improvements can be made -- but only that it provides a better starting point for efforts at improvement than the more assertively POV version we had a couple of days ago. Nandt1 (talk) 02:14, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Impact of recent student edits[edit]

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