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Journal Article

Assessing the New Washington Pluralism from the Perspective of the Malaysian Model


Maseland,  Robbert
Projekte von Gastwissenschaftlern und Postdoc-Stipendiaten, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;
Institute for Management Research, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands;

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Maseland, R., & Peil, J. (2008). Assessing the New Washington Pluralism from the Perspective of the Malaysian Model. Third World Quarterly, 29(6), 1175-1188. doi:10.1080/01436590802201154.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-4847-2
This paper discusses the post-Washington Consensus development paradigm, questioning whether the changes it embodies are sufficient to open up the development debate. We show that the new paradigm, which might be called
‘Washington Pluralism’, harbours three pluralist principles. It maintains that development is 1) contingent on culture; 2) contingent on history; and 3) requiring a multidisciplinary perspective. We assess these principles on the basis of an analogy with the Malaysian Model, which embodied the same three principles. We show that, in Malaysia, the first two evolved into cultural determinism and historicism, respectively, while the third created a discourse in which institutions, politics and culture were reduced to instruments for development. Consequentially the proliferation of the idea of a Malaysian Model has been associated with increasing authoritarianism in Malaysia rather than with increased openness. On the basis of this analogy we conclude that the three pluralist principles are not sufficient to create an open development debate.