Feb 7, 2021
‘History has ended, and capitalism is the last man standing. The innovations and freedoms enjoyed by the Global North have shown that the free market is the only viable economic system; it is almost impossible to imagine a coherent alternative.’
This was certainly the view of Margaret Thatcher, who was elected as Prime Minister amidst the turbulence of 1980s’ Britain. For many, unleashed from the shackles of pre-1970s’ economics, Thatcher restored order and long-term prosperity to a country in crisis: solving industrial disputes, taking on the unions, cutting income tax, and creating a nation of entrepreneurs and homeowners.
As we will hear, economic commentator Grace Blakeley has little sympathy for this view. For Blakeley, neoliberalism was a system geared towards maximising share profits over goods and services: a dangerous economic model that puts shareholders first, customers second, and workers last.
As we left ‘the golden age of capitalism’, the rising tides of climate catastrophe, global poverty, and vast increases in income inequality eventually came knocking at the doors of world governments... but nobody answered. As prime ministers and presidents pretended they weren’t home, a guest arrived who hadn’t the courtesy of knocking. In 2008, the world watched on as the market collapsed in the biggest economic crash since 1929. The house of cards had fallen – the contradictions of Western, free market economics had caught up with us. After the crash, governments announced £500bn in spending as they bailed out the world’s banks. Now, history repeats itself once more in the wake of the Corona Crash.
Part I. A World in Crisis
Part II. A Green Future, Further Analysis and Discussion