By Charles Calomiris
The global pattern towards privatization, liberalization, and globalization has produced enormous fiscal merits.
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Additional resources for A Globalist Manifesto for Public Policy (Occasional Paper, 124)
The presence of implicit protection via government bail-outs, especially of insolvent banks, means that taxpayers in developing countries are perpetually at risk of transferring vast sums of money to the privileged élites within their countries as the result of emergency transfers to insolvent banks and borrowers. Those contingent liabilities represent huge hidden subsidies, and result in frequent fiscal catastrophes. They also undermine competition and market discipline, and thus permit inefficient, value-destroying firms to absorb resources and further expand their political influence and favoured status.
165. 23 But I would like to connect some of the reasoning in that report with the arguments in this paper. The Meltzer Commission majority was very concerned that the IFIs had become part of the problem more often than part of the solution. The IFIs overestimate their ability to impose conditions on recalcitrant reformers, and thus their dollars are often wasted; as David Dollar and his colleagues at the World Bank showed in their monograph Assessing Aid, the success of assistance programmes depends crucially on the prior commitment to reform by the countries in question.
In other areas – notably India – some have blamed imperialism for slow growth. In The Tentacles of Progress (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1988), Daniel Headrick argues that the failure to establish educational systems that transferred practical knowledge, and the importation of machinery, meant that India’s textile industry could not develop the human capital and experience with tinkering that are necessary to be competitive and innovative. No doubt. But does that argument explain why Japan was able to compete and grow, or why India failed to grow more rapidly in the late twentieth century?