Understanding Reforms in Nepal: Political Economy and Institutional Perspective Author:Dilli Raj Khanal, Pushpa Ra Rakkarnikar,
At a time when the world was entering into the twenty-first century, profound
changes were underway in the sphere of economic policy making at both global
and national levels. It was already established that an import substitution oriented development strategy implying a proactive role for the government could wreak disaster from the point of view of both sustained growth and poverty reduction.
Many developing countries that had pursued such a strategy failed to overcome underdevelopment. Collapse of the socialist system in the former Soviet Union reinforced this. Similarly, predominance of neoclassical thinking in economic policy making was also threatened and put under constant scrutiny in the aftermath of the
East Asian crisis of 1997 and failure of the Washington Consensus. In the meantime, the widening gap between the haves and have-nots in many poor countries was generating anger and resentment among the toiling masses of the world leading to world-wide anti-globalisation protests in general and denouncement of the existing practices and policies of the multilateral agencies in particular.
The economic miracle accomplished by the East and South East Asian nations in the post-independent period through private sector led and outward oriented growth and development had inspired many countries to follow a similar development model. The multilateral donor agencies were also prescribing a similar development paradigm for other developing countries through programmes aimed at economic stabilisation and structural adjustment from the beginning of the early 1970s in the
aftermath of the first oil crisis. Economic liberalisation and globalisation was further
accentuated in the developing countries with launching of the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Programme in the early 1990s. The process gained momentum after
the establishment of WTO in 1995. However, the serious and unforeseen economic crisis in the East Asian countries and their contagion in 1997 compelled many development thinkers to review the development paradigm dominated by the neo-classical thinking. Failure of the Washington Consensus also underlined the need forsuch a review.
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