Washington Consensus or BeST Consensus? Which Path Forward for Sustained Economic Growth?
Mathews, John A.
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While the set of liberalizing and fiscally conservative development precepts dubbed the 'Washington Consensus' are now discredited as a tool for development in the global periphery, there is as yet no widely adopted or accepted alternative other than references to the 'East Asian model'. In this paper we distil the essence of the experience of East Asia - of Japan initially and then of Korea and Taiwan and now of China - in a set of precepts that we suggest underpin the actual policies and strategies pursued with success by these East Asian economies. In the spirit of proposing an alternative to the Washington Consensus, we suggest that these precepts - pragmatic and known to work - be dubbed a Beijing-Seoul- Tokyo Consensus. The essence of this BeST Consensus is its focus on capability building, on dynamic transitions from one stage to the next, and on building an institutional platform to capture latecomer effects. We outline what the elements of this BeST Consensus might be (in ten points, as contrasted with the WC) and then discuss why it is that they appear to work so well, and whether they can still be applied in the world politics of 21st century conditions.