The End of The Washington Consensus in Britain?

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Ben Cohen
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By Ben Cohen

Nick Cohen believes the neo liberal economic doctrine is dying in America, while the British government still cannot let go:

I cannot overestimate the strength of the government's belief that
it can restore the status quo ante. Obviously, ministers understand the
scale of crisis. At its peak, financiers told Darling that the bank
with his current account was 20 minutes away from collapse, news which
must have concentrated the mind. Nor have Labour and the Bank of
England been frightened of making the vast but necessary interventions
to stop a disaster turning into a catastrophe. But they do not think
that the crash is like the fall of the Berlin Wall or 9/11, an event
from which there is no going back. They still hope that the model of
free trade and globalisation can be put together again. Property prices
will shoot upwards. The tax receipts from financial services will flow.
The City will resume its primacy and all will be right with the world.

In
this intellectual climate, reforms that appear obvious to social
democrats remain unthinkable to insiders. Closing tax havens,
regulating hedge funds and stopping high street banks behaving like
investment banks so that never again do we have the obscenity of
taxpayers bailing out speculators are items the agenda-setters have no
wish to put on the table.