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I got to attend a lecture by William Easterly on his new book, focusing on whether or not foreign aid can affect world poverty (spoiler: the past 5 decades don't give a very encouraging answer, but there are some possibilities). I can't recommend his books highly enough for people to get a good, independent, but very well argued critical perspective on the "Washington Consensus" model of development. I'm not going to repeat the majority of his points on accountability and feedback and such, as they're well-argued in his books. One quick point, however, that really boils a lot of current development practice down to a coherent, easy-to-present, forehead-slappingly obvious critique that works really well against specifically the groups of people sabre-rattling for the Bank model.

The "Washington Consensus," even in the radical new forms of foreign aid such as the Millennium Development Goals, are economic plans put together by the top experts in the field esconced in Washington, DC, to be implemented in various countries worldwide. What does this remind us of? Central Planning, which has worked so well as an economic development and manangement policy historically.