Before the financial crisis, the effectiveness of the markets was almost a given in the milieu of world economists. So much so that in thirty-odd years, it has led to the enforcement of liberal theories and policies almost everywhere, mainly under the impetus of international institutions, especially the World Bank and the IMF, which have in fact made the former the basis of their “structural adjustment plans” aimed at developing countries. Since then, the financial crisis has called these imposed dogmas into question by highlighting the failure of self-regulation of the markets. There are an increasing number of counterexamples, which, even though they are relatively old, question the ideological shortcuts between liberalization and growth. For example, Francis Fukuyama noted in the September 2009 edition of the magazine The American Interest that “Asia’s financial sector is one of the least liberalized among the world’s regions, but that has not prevented it from achieving historically unprecedented rates of growth over the past three decades.”1
Today, the idea that the economy’s growth rate is not necessarily linked to the degree of liberalization is slowly gaining ground, and Francis Fukuyama’s statement reinforces this position. Let’s hope that questioning the sacrosanct effectiveness of the markets will make the international community stand back from the current Doha Round negotiations, and will lead to regulated trade liberalization, above all in the agricultural markets, which are specific and strategic markets.
1 Quoted by Le Monde « La crise remet en cause le savoir et le statut des économistes » by Frédéric Lemaître, 4 September 2009