Global Players – Global Markets
International Institutions and Global Governance series
Edited by John-ren Chen
Chapter 10: Institutional and Policy Variety, the Role of IFIs and Economic Development
* Daniel Daianu INTRODUCTION1 Variety, or let us call it diversity, is the essence of economic life in the sense of underlying choice; economic calculation gives numerical substance to the way people make choices in their daily endeavours, either as consumers or as entrepreneurs.2 As Kevin Lancaster pointed out years ago, variety has value in itself,3 for we enjoy a wider range of choices instead of a smaller one. How does variety/diversity take shape in the realm of institutions and policy making? Is the range of choices open-ended? The last couple of decades have revealed an overwhelming offensive of the neoliberal paradigm in terms of deﬁning ‘best practices’ and spreading the gospel of its policies throughout the world; this offensive was carried out by IFIs (international ﬁnancial institutions) as well. Even language was shaped accordingly, with market reforms being seen in a single theoretical and policy framework. Are we heading towards increasing uniformity (according to the logic of this paradigm) with regard to institutional and policy set-ups, worldwide? A sceptical answer would highlight the economic challenges which confront societies, whether rich and poor, and the international community in general. One could mention also the partial counter-offensive represented by the so-called ‘Third Way’ paradigm,4 the new vigour found by neo-Keynesian ideas and last, but not least, the powerful insights of the ‘New Theories’, as Robert Gilpin calls them. This chapter argues that there is substantial scope for institutional and policy variety to operate as a means to foster economic...
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