Publication Details

Engel, S. N. (2006). Where to Neoliberalism? The World Bank and the Post-Washington consensus in Indonesia and Vietnam. In A. Vickers & M. Hanlon (Eds.), Asia Reconstructed: Proceedings of the 16th Biennial Conference of the ASAA Canberra: Asian Studies Association of Australia Inc.; Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies.


This paper attempts to summarise a number of the ideas from a current, Gramscian-inspired research project on the form and nature of World Bank’s2 shift away from the Washington Consensus, which the World Bank publicly and loudly claimed to have achieved by 1997. The Bank’s new approach was labelled by critical academics as the post-Washington Consensus (PWC) because their analyses of the policies and rhetoric indicate a continued commitment to the core ideas of the Washington Consensus. My research explores not just the Bank’s underlying development discourse but also the practical consequences of the new themes and ideas of the PWC as they are played out in the Bank’s lending program. I do this via case studies of Bank lending in two countries: Vietnam and Indonesia. The case studies examine all loans to these countries in two periods: 1993-1997 to equate to the Washington Consensus period; and 2000-2004 for the PWC. The case studies form the basis of some conclusions outlined here about the extent to which the shift in rhetoric associated with the post-Washington Consensus has been incorporated into lending practices with the aim of providing insights into neoliberal development discourse more broadly. In line with the project’s Gramscian inspiration, the analysis of the form and content of the Bank’s modus operandi is undertaken with the aim of contributing to a challenge to mainstream development discourse and more broadly to the dominant global hegemony, which the Bank both reflects and propagates.