The Morphing Washington Consensus

By Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa, (On Twitter) @c_tamirisa

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The lack of character cannot be more revealing. The policy wonks in the academia, government and multilateral institutions from Boston to Washington (the COSMOS Clubbers) are slowly forming a chorus on reevaluating the Washington Consensus, being hailed as experts in the New York Times rather than being characterized as chameleons blessed with suppurating and incompetent minds because the very same critiques they are now embracing were given nearly a decade ago, only to find their names on them now.

During the days of the Clinton Administration, the triumvirate of Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers had disregarded all contrarian views of international economics and domestic regulation and had silenced those espousing those views, destroying their careers and lives in the politics of personal destruction. That was politically correct then. Today, when it is politically correct to adopt those very same critiques, the intellectual riff-raff of Anglo-Americana is eager to jump onto the bandwagon at the highest levels of policymaking and economic research as evident from recent papers produced by the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Research Department. Larry Summers and Tim Geithner were the enforcers then and to save their reputations they are once again the enforcers, with the IMF again as their mouthpiece.

The IMF, picking up on talking points it did not fully understand, led with its Economic Counselor, Olivier Blanchard, by issuing a paper about revising inflation targets. Now, it says, after lampooning Malaysia and disregarding the experiences of China and India in the ‘90s in spite of being critiqued to that effect, that capital controls may after all be good if designed well, repeating a borrowed decade-old insight but only with bigger mouths, assuming conveniently that the world has forgotten when the first critiques were made.

Still, the bureaucrats and political appointees, let alone elected officials, gearing up for reelections in a manner the fits the text book case of political manipulation of economic life, pretending to be intellectuals, who neither see the value of ideas until it means a promotion even if the world is going to hell in a hand basket (careerism) nor respect the intellectual property of ideas subjecting them to bureaucratic hierarchies and the adolescent immaturity of university alumni associations and U.S News and World Report rankings of their alma maters, cannot apply the same to making policy until they are told exactly how because they did not conceive them. They do so, after being told, tying people’s lives to their agendas in the vein of Upton Sinclair (paid not to change), when the time is right for self-aggrandizement.

The academic and bureaucratic power is employed to perpetuate that same power through rent seeking, similar to the mafia, sidelining the originators of those ideas until they feel comfortable enough to trust them with delusionary ideologies of global dominance, secret societies and college fraternities, employing the apparatus of the government, in a Nixonian manner, to do so. The world of that power is one which reeks with the stench of compromised souls seeking corruptible souls.

That it takes hacking the very branch of the tree one is sitting on when chopping the tree for firewood and only the crisis of fall changes the establishment is not lost on the emerging markets in the new world of the G20. The moronic nature of the fall is forgotten in the self-adulation of the change, embraced later than they ought to have. Some falls can mean certain incapacitation, if not death. And this is one of those for the G7 less Japan.

The IMF papers herald the beginning of the end of the G7, for the issue is not the loss of power as the Harvard historian Niall Ferguson seems to be thinking, but the loss of credibility and hence influence. The United States, at the top of the heap of the Anglo-European G6, is set to become as influential as Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Greece (PIIG) in global affairs by 2020, for its status quo economic ideology is a planetary parasite, a scourge on the face of the earth. And this is being politically correct, if Washington understands politics.

The end game is to minimize the pain of that demise.


About Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa
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