The Cold War is over and the often shameful national preferences which drove development co-operation have been abandoned. The question is about how to replace them. From the "Washington Consensus" we have moved on to what could be called the "Monterrey Consensus", though the latter is still emerging and the search for a new paradigm consistent with the idea that no "one size fits all", continues. Concentrating on "development policies", as though they could be in some way different, has led to any number of policy failures. Meanwhile, the OECD countries have demonstrated that there are policy approaches -- peer pressure; good governance; freedom of information; predictable and reliable institutions; the rule of law; and so on that worked for them and that should work for developing countries.
The Development Centre, part of the OECD and close to developing-country decision makers, is in a perfect position to monitor these approaches and their impact on development. To take just one, though important example, democracy cannot survive without good governance and will be destined to fail, discredited.
On its 40th anniversary, the OECD Development Centre is publishing Development is Back, a retrospective and prospective look at the ideas and practice of economic development. There are many valuable lessons for the future in reviewing the development process, its theories and positions, and even the very notion of development. This is especially important at a time when the OECD is itself seeking to place development issues at the top of its agenda and to carry the useful, positive lessons of OECD experience to the developing world.
The book itself is divided into two parts. The first deals with economic policies to promote growth and prosperity in poor countries, whilst the second focuses more on the history of the Development Centre, retracing its main directions through personal accounts. Part one explains the evolution of ideas through advances in economic theory as well as fluctuations in the economic, political and social context. This analysis provides lessons both for developing countries and for actors in international development on the main themes of development policy: sustainable development, poverty and inequality, business, privatisation, trade, investment, finance, public management and civil society. On all these topics, the OECD Development Centre draws on its history and intellectual resources to propose solutions without, however, presuming to provide all the answers.
The Centre uses its "intellectual heritage" to seek new solutions to current and emerging problems; reflecting again in order to reflect better; looking back in order to look forward. This is a thoughtful and provocative book which, as its title suggests, brings development back to where it belongs: in centre stage.
"Development Is Back" Available in print (paperback) and electronic format (pdf) 289 pages, OECD, Paris 2002 Euros 30 ISBN 92-64-19891-1
Edited by Jorge Braga de Macedo, Colm Foy and Charles Oman, with the participation of:
Donald J Johnston, Jean-Claude Berthélemy, Jean Bonvin, Maurizio Bussolo, Daniel Cohen, Just Faaland, Kiichiro Fukasaku, Andrea Goldstein, Peter Jankowitsch, Carl Kaysen, Ian Little, Ida Mc Donnell, Angus Maddison, Edmond Malinvaud, Christian Morrisson, David O'Connor, Charles P Oman, Helmut Reisen, Louis Sabourin, Véronique Sauvat, Henri-Bernard Solignac Lecomte, Kimon Valaskakis.