The New Washington Consensus

Mitchell, Katharyne and Sparke, Matthew, 2016,  “The New Washington Consensus: Millennial Philanthropy and the Making of Global Market Subjects,” Antipode 48: 3. 724 –749,

This paper outlines the emergence of a New Washington Consensus associated with leading philanthropies of the new millennium. This emergent development paradigm by no means represents a historic break with the market rationalities of neoliberalism, nor does it represent a radical departure from older models of early 20th century philanthropy. Rather, it is new in its global ambition to foster resilient market subjects for a globalized world; and new in its employment of micro-market transformations to compensate for macro-market failures. Focusing on reforms pioneered by the new philanthropic partnerships in education and global health, the paper indicates how the targets of intervention are identified as communities that have been failed by both governments and markets. The resulting interventions are commonly justified in terms of “return on investment”. But the problems they target keep returning because the underlying causes of failure are left unaddressed.