Six main differences distinguish today’s approach to economic development – as represented by the Washington Institutions – from previous theories of development process (Renaissance to Marshall Plan). Today’s theories fail:
1. To approach economic development from a multidisciplinary stand point, as was done in the German tradition of Staatswissenschaft;
2. To study and tailor-make policy-recommendations to the specific context in which a nation finds itself (insisting that ‘one size fits all’);
3. To observe and classify qualitative differences between economic activities (e.g. increasing or diminishing returns, perfect or imperfect competition, etc.);
4. To investigate differences between the productive structures of nations;
5. To conceive of development as a dynamic synergetic phenomenon propelled by self-reinforcing mechanisms (e.g. Collier’s static development ‘traps’ compared to the dynamic virtuous and vicious circles of classical development economics);
6. To understand the role of the state in economic growth from any standpoint other than ‘market failure’.