Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law Stanford University


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The Post-Washington Consensus

Journal Article

Francis Fukuyama - Stanford University
Nancy Birdsall - President of the Center for Global Development

Published by
Foreign Affairs, Vol. 90 no. 2, page(s) 10
March/April 2011

(excerpt) The last time a global depression originated in the United States, the impact was devastating not only for the world economy but for world politics as well. The Great Depression set the stage for a shift away from strict monetarism and laissez-faire policies toward Keynesian demand management. More important, for many it delegitimized the capitalist system itself, paving the way for the rise of radical and antiliberal movements around the world.

This time around, there has been no violent rejection of capitalism, even in the developing world. In early 2009, at the height of the global financial panic, China and Russia, two formerly noncapitalist states, made it clear to their domestic and foreign investors that they had no intention of abandoning the capitalist model. No leader of a major developing country has backed away from his or her commitment to free trade or the global capitalist system. Instead, the established Western democracies are the ones that have highlighted the risks of relying too much on market-led globalization and called for greater regulation of global finance.