O que é este blog?

Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org. Para a maior parte de meus textos, ver minha página na plataforma Academia.edu, link: https://itamaraty.academia.edu/PauloRobertodeAlmeida;

Meu Twitter: https://twitter.com/PauloAlmeida53

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paulobooks

sexta-feira, 16 de abril de 2021

John Williamson, 83, Dies; Economist Defined the ‘Washington Consensus’ - Clay Risen (NYT)

O mal chamado 'consenso de Washington" é uma excelente peça de avaliação crítica das políticas econômicas pró-reforma, pró-crescimento, pró-justiça social que podem ser concebidas. Mas, se o nome fosse "Consenso de Cochabamba" teria tido uma sorte menos cruel do que aquela que afetou o original. Esta matéria não menciona o segundo seminário que ele fez em 2002, chamado "Post-Washington Consensus", com reformas da segunda e terceira geração. Grande economista.

Paulo Roberto de Almeida 

John Williamson, 83, Dies; Economist Defined the ‘Washington Consensus’

A careful pragmatist, he regretted the way his term, aimed at developing countries, was misinterpreted by free-market ideologues and anti-globalization activists.

John Williamson, who drew up a list of 10 “best practices” for the economies of developing countries.
Credit...via Williamson family

John Williamson, a British economist who in 1989 coined the phrase “Washington Consensus” to describe a set of policy reforms for developing economies, then spent the rest of his career trying to rescue it from misuse by both free-market ideologues and anti-globalization activists, died on Sunday at his home in Chevy Chase, Md. He was 83.

His daughter, Theresa Williamson, said the cause was multiple system atrophy, a rare degenerative disease.

More than most economists, Mr. Williamson had a knack for crafting catchy names for complicated ideas. In 1965 he developed what he called the “crawling peg,” in which a central bank would keep an exchange rate fixed but establish a formula for devaluing its currency over time and in response to changing external pressure.

He later mocked the view that changes in a country’s trade deficit would have no impact on exchange rates — a position advocated by the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal, among others — as “the doctrine of immaculate transfer.”

Continue reading the main story

But only the Washington Consensus achieved wonkish immortality, so much so thatmost people who used it knew neither what it originally meant nor who created it. It started innocently enough: In the late 1980s, in the face of pressure on developing economies by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Treasury to enact sweeping reform, Mr. Williamson organized a conference of Latin American policymakers to demonstrate what their countries were already doing to make their countries more competitive.
He drew up a list of 10 things that both Latin American governments and international economists would say constituted “best practices” — among them, keeping deficits under control, protecting property rights, investing in education and health care, reducing subsidies and making it easier for foreign direct investments to enter developing economies. He called the list the Washington Consensus. Mr. Williamson was careful about what he included, and specific in what he left out, and most economists, then and now, agreed with him — though some later criticized the list as one-size-fits-all and faulted it for not including more pro-growth measures. “To the extent that it made us focus on a universal blueprint, it didn’t give us a good strategy for growth,” said Dani Rodrik, an economist at Harvard. He nevertheless credited Mr. Williamson for his nuanced approach.
That nuance was lost on others, though. By the mid-1990s the Washington Consensus had come to refer to a broad portfolio of pro-market, deregulatory reforms imposed with often brutal efficiency by developed countries on emerging economies, including the “shock therapy” implemented in post-Soviet Russia. Especially after the financial crisis of the late 2000s, the Washington Consensus became a term of derision, used by progressive scholars and activists to attack both neoliberals and free-market conservatives for undermining public welfare to benefit the global financial elite. 
Mr. Williamson, a critic of neoliberalism, particularly on tax policy and deregulation, was aghast. In a series of papers, books and speeches during the 1990s and 2000s, he strained to clarify his position, though he eventually conceded that the term had taken on a life of its own.

“It is difficult even for the creator of the term to deny that the phrase ‘Washington Consensus’ is a damaged brand name,” he said in 2002. “There are people who cannot utter the term without foaming at the mouth.

Mr. Williamson was a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington and a passionate bird watcher.

Credit...Peterson Institute for International Economics

John Williamson was born on June 7, 1937, in Hereford, a small English city near the Welsh border. His mother, Eileen (Heap) Williamson, was a volunteer Methodist preacher, and his father, Harry Williamson, ran a plant nursery and grew roses — he even created his own breed, the Wyevale.

His father instilled in him a lifelong love of birdwatching. Throughout his career, he would often choose to attend conferences based on the ornithological opportunities they presented. He recorded more than 4,000 species of birds during his lifetime, nearly half of the estimated 10,000 species on the planet.

Mr. Williamson attended the London School of Economics, graduating with a degree in economics in 1951. After completing two years of compulsory military service, he entered graduate school at Princeton, where he received his Ph.D. in 1963.

Though he had frequent offers from Oxford and Cambridge, especially later in his career, Mr. Williamson was drawn to the sort of creative research being done at some of the newly established, so-called plate-glass universities, after their modernist architecture.

He joined the University of York in 1963, the year it was founded, and later taught at the University of Warwick, founded in 1965. But he was increasingly drawn to policymaking. In 1968 he took a job as an adviser to the British Treasury, where he worked on economic relations with the European Economic Community, and later moved to Washington to work at the International Monetary Fund.

While at the I.M.F. he met Denise Rausch, a Brazilian economist. They married in 1974.

Along with his daughter and wife, Mr. Williamson is survived by two sons, Andre and Daniel; two sisters, Chris Evans and Wyn Jones; and seven grandchildren.

The Williamsons spent the late 1970s in Brazil, where she worked for a research institution and he taught at a Catholic university. Ms. Williamson taught her husband Portuguese, something he considered his greatest achievement, having struggled with foreign languages in school.

They returned to Washington in 1981, when the economist C. Fred Bergsten hired Mr. Williamson to be the first employee of the newly founded Institute for International Economics, later renamed the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He remained there until he retired in 2012. (In 1996 he took a leave from the institute to join the World Bank, where his wife had worked, though he left after just three years, frustrated with the bank’s bureaucracy.)

Until he coined the Washington Consensus, Mr. Williamson was best known for his work on exchange rates. He was a passionate advocate for a middle ground between the rigidity of fixed rates — especially for developing economies — and the chaos of floating rates, which he believed put even developed economies at the mercy of global financial markets.Continue reading the main story

He presented his initial solution, the crawling peg, to the British government after it had decided to let the pound float in 1971. The U.K. Treasury was uninterested, but several developing economies did adopt it, and today it is used by both Nicaragua and Vietnam.

He applied similar thinking to developed economies in the 1980s, arguing that policymakers should try to constrain free-floating exchange rates by intervening to keep them within “target zones” — an idea that was ratified by six leading economies in the 1987 Louvre Accord, then largely dropped, much to Mr. Williamson’s chagrin.

Mr. Williamson was widely regarded for his careful pragmatism, and as a critic of those who sought to upturn apple carts with unconventional ideas — most of the time.

“I’m more often than not on the side of the conventional wisdom,” he said in a 2012 interview. “Most often it’s right. But sometimes people get things totally wrong, and then it’s necessary to stand up and say so.”

A version of this article appears in print on April 16, 2021, Section A, Page 24 of the New York edition with the headline: John Williamson Dies at 83; Economist Coined ‘Washington Consensus’. 

Nenhum comentário: