Poverty reduction is now a prime concern of global policymakers. Renewed global efforts for poverty reduction are presented as the post-Washington Consensus. In this context, I identify an emerging ‘global development architecture’ that entails new patterns of interlinkages between the WTO, IMF, World Bank, Regional Development Banks and Bilateral and Multilateral Development Agencies. Through the example of microcredit and poverty reduction I address the political economic implications of the emerging global development architecture. I argue that microcredit (1) facilitates financial sector liberalisation and the global trade in financial services; (2) functions as a political safety-net, containing or dampening resistance at the community level to liberalisation policies and economic austerity measures. The article critically probes the emerging global development architecture and argues that it is incorporated into the reconfiguration of global political economy as a strategy of ‘crisis management’. Normative discourses underpinning the post-Washington Consensus are argued to be instrumental to efforts to legitimate the consolidation, ‘constitutionally’, of what continues to be the Washington Consensus.
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