New Bank paradigm: Stiglitz and Fine approaches clash

15 December 1998

In October World Bank Chief Economist Joe Stiglitz made another major speech going “beyond the well-documented failures of the Washington consensus to begin providing the foundations of an alternative paradigm”. He rejected technical modelling approaches and defined development broadly as a transformation of society to “modern” ways of thinking and acting before setting out elements of development strategy for the private sector, public sector, communities, families and individuals.

A few days before Ben Fine, Professor of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, had given a paper expressing concerns about NGOs and researchers getting drawn into the Bank’s new framework without understanding its intellectual origins and limitations. The new terms being used, such as “social capital”, which appear to move beyond the n individualistic approach of neo-classical economics, reflect an extension of economic tools into the social and political arenas. Issues of class, power, and market structures still cannot be squarely addressed by the Bank’s new analytical concepts.

For the Neither the Washington Nor the Post-Washington Consensus paper contact Jaya Balakrishnan at SOAS:

The Stiglitz lecture is available from the Bank or the Bretton Woods Project.