The euphemism used by academics, bureaucrats and politicians when referring to the shared perception of the U.N., the IMF, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (among others) that neo-conservative free-market capitalism (ie. global trade and the market economy) is the most effective means of development. Falls under the wider regime of mainstream development.
According to the 'Washington Consensus', 'democratic capitalism' will soon be accepted throughout the world. A global free market will become a reality. The manifold economic cultures and systems that the world has always contained will be redundant. They will be merged into a single universal free market.
John Gray, False Dawn , New York: The New Press, 1998, p. 4.

Underdevelopment theorists invoke the Washington Consensus as the major impediment to grass roots, bottom-up foreign aid.