The anglo-saxon model continues its slow demise.
Today’s poor growth figures for the UK throw something rather stark into relief. Those countries that have spent the last decade claiming that financial innovation, low tax, ultra-flexible labour markets, laissez faire industrial policy and popular asset ownership have driven their “economic miracle” are now not only the source of the world’s economic troubles but are actually lagging behind those countries which remained more sceptical of the whole approach. While Germany, France and much of Asia are now on the upswing, it’s the UK, USA and Ireland that still look sickly.
Humanity’s capacity for self-deception is prodigious, so no doubt, the Adam Smith Institute, the Taxpayers’ Alliance and other assorted New Right bodies will keep promoting themselves as some sort of panacea but it is over the longer term that the battle of ideas resulting from this crisis will play out. One does wonder, however, when the CBI and other grounded groups might acknowledge that it is time to shift on to new ideological territory. At the very least, Labour should be learning the longer term lessons of this crisis and ditching the remnants of its neo-liberal baggage which still exerts a strong pull as evidenced by the recent decision on workplace rights.