From the “Washington Consensus” to the “Seoul Consensus”: What role for the State in Governance?


  • Pierre Vercauteren



Washington Consensus, Seoul Consensus, global governance


The initial concept of governance, as specified by the World Bank in 1992 and inspired in a normative perspective by the “Washington Consensus”, was the bearer of a perspective of the withdrawal of the State in a process to which different kinds of actors were invited to provide answers to the deficit of legitimacy and effectiveness encountered by several countries. More recently, in 2010, the adoption by the members of the G20 of the “Seoul Consensus” marked a new stage in the conception of governance, thus moving away from the approach of the “Washington Consensus”. The aim of the present paper is to analyse the reasons for the transition from one Consensus to another and to specify more particularly what this evolution involves for the role of the State in Governance. To this end, this analysis investigates the limits of Governance applied according to its initial design and identifies some changes in the international system, including the arrival of emerging powers in a context of multiple crises in order to identify the repercussion on States. All of these elements lead us to reconsider the role of the State in global governance, particularly in the light of the “Seoul Consensus”.


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