Last Friday (03/06/16) Professor Robert Wade had a letter published in the Financial Times in which he responds to an article from the 31 May “A misplaced mea culpa for neoliberalism


“Any evidence of IMF rethink is cause for cheer”,  letter, Financial Times,  3 June 2016
From Prof. Robert H. Wade

Sir,    Your editorial criticising the International Monetary Fund for publishing an article questioning its own “neoliberal tendencies” misses the bigger picture (“A misplaced mea culpa for neoliberalism”,   May 31).

The article you criticise, entitled “Neoliberalism: oversold?”, is just one of several published recently by research department staff which question propositions in the IMF’s core package of policy advice and conditionality over the past three decades.

You are right that these papers are not the first in the wider intellectual community to query the truth of these and other propositions in the orthodoxy. But by dismissing the paper in question as “the childish rhetoric of the parts of the IMF which stand aloof from the nitty gritty of helping real countries in terrible circumstances”,  you downplay the significance of the IMF itself allowing some of its staff publicly to question parts of its orthodoxy – something which the Fund has been a lot more reluctant to allow in the past.

The fact that these papers come out of non-operational parts of the Fund means that they may have little effect in the operational parts. Still, we should cheer the evidence that parts of the Fund are doing some rethinking about how best to help real countries in terrible circumstances.

Prof Robert H Wade
Dept of International Development
London School of Economics, UK

The original letter can be found here