‘Washington Consensus’ vs ‘Beijing Consensus’

Throughout human history ideas replace the ideas, productivity supersedes productivity. New models challenge the existing models, as an alternative option. If we relatively compare the “Washington Consensus” and “Beijing Consensus”, it would be rather easy to analyse which model suits the modern era.

Let me first talk about the “Washington Consensus” it was primarily shaped by John Williamson in 1989 in his scholarship about the operational shortcomings of developing states. In fact, it contains vital policy requirements: economic regulation, tax amendment, re-ordering public outflow’s main concern, deregulation of privatisation, trade liberalisation, relaxing interest rates and property claims. These rubrics reflected the doctrines of liberal market-oriented entrepreneurship and strategies of the then Ronald Reagan and the then Margaret Thatcher governments during the 1980s who had been robust proponents of capitalist ideologies.

Under this backdrop, Washington Consensus has been understood to be dominant in disapproving the national sentiments of a state. If propagates the formation of a laissez-faire universal economy, and the only object that matters, is the development of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a state in this configuration. Therefore, disparagement towards Washington Consensus has been most noticeable within the developing world, where it was experienced that the Consensus was merely a fresh technique for the advanced North to take advantage of the emerging South.

In retrospect, Washington Consensus after rising in the early 1990s gradually deteriorated and then the last outcome was “comprehensive breakdown” by 2001. Similarly, seven years of durable progression [in Latin America] in the early 1990s were followed by seven years of inertia and collapse, so that for the period progress under the Washington Consensus was half of what it had been from the 1950s through the 1970s when the region followed other monetary rules.

In fact, much of the Washington Consensus condemnation can be associated to the acceptance of its attitudes by the world’s prominent economic institutions in Washington, D.C., such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In several parts, these institutions recognised with dogmas that proved detrimental for the growth of developing states.

On the flip side, if we talk about “Beijing Consensus” the impression was followed in 2004 by Joshua Cooper Ramo. This “consensus” has been embedded in three ideologies, namely, (1) innovation, (2) promoting work through chaos management (3) self-determination.

Such facets of the Beijing Consensus are originated from the prominence that China has emphasised on innovation in its own growth since 1979. China has preserved a solid effort on generating active plans, which resolve difficulties that are imperative to its citizens.

To attain these objectives, it has been indispensable for China to truly helpful of what people desire: Ogden writes, “The Chinese Government itself is known to carry out surveys of public opinion exactly to find out civic boldness toward itself,” and then to vigorously measure the influence and recognition of its plans. The detail that the Chinese administration trusts deeply on reviews and voting replicates a devotion to “continuous fixing” about innovative program building in spirit, the second colossal mark of the Beijing Consensus is a “refusal of per capita GDP as the ultimate goal” of development as a main concern. This model helps in portion as a denial of Western rules, which consider these facts profoundly.

In its place, the Beijing Consensus proposes an improved emphasis on procedures such as quality-of-life and individual justice, segments where China has staunchly absorbed its devotion. Qualitatively, these benchmarks postulate a substitute to the interpretation of growth associated success with financial progress and assist us comprehend that poverty is actually the withdrawal of fundamental faculties in human beings rather than just lowness of wages.

The third element highlights self-rule; it is about the requirement for developing states to dynamically pursue freedom from exterior burden, as it is executed by “hegemonic powers” such as the United States and its allies. Hence, this model can be understood both through the outlook of China’s conventional hostility to foreign invasion, and because China has rejected to succumb to external influence and in its place followed its own needs. Moreover, Beijing Consensus as appreciating liberation and self-government and denying letting other (Western) controls enforce their motivation, stressing the notion that “nations can design their particular maturity without partaking to receive the opposed footings of the Washington Consensus.”

Relatively, if we discuss about Beijing Consensus and Washington Consensus, Beijing Consensus is far more appealing than the Washington Consensus, particularly for emerging countries. China, in numerous conducts has transferred its economic ideal (with Chinese features) to rising states by emboldening business and stock in structure progress, without verbalizing any civil or fiscal modifications as requirements. As a novel progressive standard, the Beijing Consensus has assumed confidence to developing states in an uncertain worldwide condition where the economic disaster of 2008 and the continued deadlock of World Trade Organisation discussions, are parallels of a feeble Washington Consensus. Furthermore, China remains to show an additional conspicuous part on the universal rostrum, its conquest could stimulate its genuine system in the eyes of other states that have been astounded by Western noises for extra egalitarianism and better admiration for human rights. This might embolden precursors in those nations to pursue quicker economic stalemates with China despite receiving the burdens positioned upon them by the Washington Consensus.

China’s ideal indications in what way an economy can relax to a grade, whereas safeguarding the dominant party vestiges in supremacy. One of the main trademarks of the Beijing Consensus is that it does not command limited procedure contacts to those who may pursue to practice it as a model. In fact, Beijing Consensus is surprisingly appealing to states that have not profited from the prevailing worldwide dominant structure.

In numerous means, the Beijing Consensus is currently demonstrated as a progression of Chinese “soft-power” throughout the world, predominantly in areas such as South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. China’s practice of soft-power outlooks in glaring difference to the permanent belief on hard-power explanations by the United States and other Western nations. It performs prospective that the Beijing Consensus will endure to work a mounting and progressively significant part in determining forthcoming progress throughout the world.

Precisely, I would not claim that Beijing Consensus is a perfect model because it would be too early to believe it, but despite its inadequacies, the Beijing Consensus is important to the world—not inevitably as a candidly replicable model—but as a fresh lens through which to opinion the world as a “Substitute Global Order.” Likewise, Pakistan has demonstrated a willingness to apply the Chinese model for national evolution. As newly elected government of Pakistan has committed to reduce poverty adopting Chinese Model of Development and have shown keen interest to send a team to ask about the Chinese policies of development and then promise to pursue those techniques.

To cut the story short, I would say that Beijing Consensus is an essence of development in the 21st Century. It is, indeed, an innovative method of distinguishing about the global imperative that is envisioned to be idiosyncratic, and which comprehends value—most fundamentally—as an alternative to the currently dominant ideology.


The writer studied as Exchange Visitor Scholar at Arizona State University, USA.

Dr. Iram Naseer

Dr. Iram Naseer

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