Revista de Economia Política, 23 (3): 3-34, julho 2003, baseado no artigo "Financiamento para o Subdesenvolvimento: O Brasil e o Segundo Consenso de Washington", apresentado na comemoração dos 50 anos do BNDES, outubro de 2002. Revisado em dezembro de 2002.
Abstract. While in the social and in the ethical realms the Cardoso administration (1995-2002) was successful, its economic outcomes were frustrating. In this administration’s eight years the investment rate did not increase and income per capita growth lagged, while the public debt and the foreign debt increased substantially. This poor economic performance may be explained by three chained causes: a mistake in agenda setting, the adoption of the Second Washington Consensus, and the alienation of elites. The decision of setting high inflation as the major problem to be tackled instead of achieving equilibrium in foreign accounts represented a major macroeconomic mistake, which can be explained by the Second Washington Consensus. This consensus proposed in the 1990s that highly indebted countries should grow counting on foreign savings, although this is not the experience among OECD countries. The outcome was to evaluate the real, to increase artificially wages and consumption, so that instead of growth what we have been increased indebtedness. Why this flopped strategy was adopted? Rich countries’ interests are not difficult to guess. On the part of Brazil, the only explanation is Brazilian elites’ alienation in relation to the country’s national interest. As a final outcome, the Cardoso administration ends with another balance of payments crisis.