The hijacking of the development debate: how Friedman and Sachs got it wrong

The hijacking of the development debate: how Friedman and Sachs got it wrong

How Friedman and Sachs got it wrong

The popular backlash to the Washington Consensus (an agenda of enforced open market policies) has been witnessed in protest marches and anti-globalisation campaigns for quite some time. This revolutionary mood, the authors argue, has been hijacked by the influencial, articulate voices of Jeffrey Sachs and Thomas Friedman. This article presents a critique of these two figures' work, and warns of the risks their policy prescriptions entail.

Arguing that Sachs and Friedman's solutions to ending poverty are over-simplistic, the authors add that such claims are merely loosely-vieled interpretations of the market liberalisation policies of the 1980s and 1990s. Accepted as simple truth by many, these straight-forward answers to poverty eradication are, according to the authors, built upon dubious facts about the poor, aid, trade and the options available to donor countries.

Having debunked a number of myths which the authors believe underpin the work of Sachs and Friedman, examples of alternatives in action are presented. Policy reforms at the local, national and regional level in Africa and Latin America are detailed, suggesting the possibility of successful alternatives to the prevailing consensus in poverty eradication.