Foreign Affairs: Building Entrepreneurial Economies

July/August 2004 Issue

The United States, using its own direct-aid programs and its influence over development agencies, has encouraged other nations to adopt the features and institutions of post-Cold War American capitalism. But this approach -- the so-called Washington consensus -- has often yielded disappointing results. Many economies in Latin America, eastern Europe, and elsewhere are stagnant or backsliding, and most of the world's poorest economies show few signs of new life. Going forward, the American economic model should not be abandoned, as some development economists advocate, but it must be improved. The current template is incomplete. In particular, it fails to reproduce a vital element of the U.S. economy: support for entrepreneurship.