Trade, foreign policy, diplomacy and health

Post-Washington Consensus

Criticism of many of the Washington consensus policies, including evidence of their detrimental impact on health, led to the development of the post-Washington consensus. This package of ideas and policies aims to:

  • Manage liberalized trade, finance and monetary systems
  • Include the creation of enforceable codes and standards, and concessions to social welfare through targeted social safety nets
  • Create vertical and horizontal policy coherence
  • Include businesses and firms in a Global Compact for Development and the PRSP process.

For many supporters, the post-Washington consensus differs fundamentally from the original. While the Washington consensus made economic growth the main goal of development, the new consensus moves away from the neo-liberal, market-friendly approach and places sustainable, egalitarian and democratic development at the heart of the agenda. It includes a more poverty-focused approach that protects and supports the poor and prioritizes social spending on education and health. Others argue that the original neo-liberal agenda still underpins the post-Washington consensus, saying that the social safety net aspects of the new policies are put in place as an add-on to deal with market failure.

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