The "Washington Consensus": a demagogue method that clashes with reality.


Set of economic principles that became popular in the 1980s that were associated with economic liberalization policies. They include the opening of markets, macroeconomic stability, reducing the size of the State and promoting policies favorable to foreign investment.

These economic principles seek to promote international trade, but can have negative impacts on non-competitive local sectors. They focus on maintaining low inflation and fiscal balances, but may result in cuts in social spending. They seek the efficiency of the State with a reduction strategy, but, in excess, it can affect essential public services.

As some supposed results, the stimulation of economic development is mentioned, generating inequalities. The measures can generate protests and tensions due to inequalities and the loss of employment and purchasing power of the average and the opening of markets inexorably leads to greater dependence on the global economy, consequently, an unequated dependence on the economic powers. , whatever their system, regime or political ideology

Its impact varies depending on the context and specific implementation in each country. However, criticism has been raised that his policies have often benefited certain sectors while harming others.

Those countries with strong government institutions and the capacity to implement reforms can benefit by attracting foreign investment and stimulating economic growth, market opening can benefit export-oriented sectors by providing them with access to international markets and the reduction of restrictions and stability macroeconomic can attract foreign investors.

But also, the measures contribute to economic polarization and accentuate inequalities, since they often benefit the richest sectors. The opening of markets harms non-competitive local sectors in the face of foreign competition, not due to speculation or poor government management in decision-making, but rather due to lack of development in those countries that did not have opportunities or support from the dominant powers. not be useful to them and when it is indiscriminate it leads to greater dependence on the global economy, which, inexorably, unleashes international crises. In turn, austerity and cutback policies can generate social unrest, especially if they affect public services and employment. A balance is required between economic openness and social protection to avoid extreme inequalities, which until now has not been achieved, but on the contrary, the gap has increased. Adaptability to local conditions and citizen participation are essential to evaluate and adjust economic policies.

These conclusions may not be exclusive or universally applicable, as each country has unique circumstances and contexts. Furthermore, opinions on the benefits and harms of the Washington Consensus vary among economists and experts. It is a complex debate, with different interpretations and criticisms.

Trying to list exhaustively as an example, the countries that benefit or harm from the Washington Consensus is also complex, since economic reality is dynamic and varies according to multiple factors. However, some representative examples can be provided:

  1. Greece: The austerity measures associated with the Washington Consensus were unpopular and contributed to the country's economic and financial crisis in 2008.
  2. Russia: Market reforms had negative effects in some sectors, resulting in inequalities and social tensions.
  3. Argentina: Its application contributed to an economic crisis, characterized by recession and unemployment.
  4. New Zealand: Implemented market-oriented economic reforms, experiencing improvements in efficiency and growth.
  5. Singapore: Adopted free trade policies and attracted investments, becoming one of the most important financial centers in the world.
  6. Chile: Implemented economic opening policies and attracted foreign investment, experiencing significant economic growth
  7. .

It is essential to recognize that these examples are neither exhaustive nor definitive, and economic reality is multifaceted. Furthermore, the perception of the benefits or harms of the Washington Consensus may vary according to the interpretations and opinions of different experts and analysts.

Moving on to the evaluation of the global impact of the Washington Consensus, it is complex and its perception varies. Although it has been argued that some of its policies have contributed to economic growth in certain countries, there has also been significant criticism.

In some cases, Washington Consensus policies have stimulated economic growth and investment. In some countries, economic reforms have been associated with improvements in poverty reduction and increases in per capita income. But in other cases it is argued that these policies have contributed to economic inequalities, benefiting the richest sectors to the detriment of the poorest, austerity measures and cuts in public services have generated social tensions and unrest in various places and the opening of markets can lead to dependence on the global economy, which can expose countries to international crises.

The "perception" of the impact of the Washington Consensus may vary depending on the economic ideology and the specific situation of each country. Furthermore, the experiences of some countries cannot be directly extrapolated to others due to differences in local contexts and conditions. But yes, it can be concluded that it is not the solution even remotely to social and human inequalities, since its intrinsic characteristic naturally favors economic powers and does not provide opportunities to very backward nations that have everything to do, and not They will do so without a global international cooperation policy in favor of those countries. Let me hesitate. My disbelief based on current reality leads me to believe that it is a utopia.

By: Pablo Gabriel Miraglia