The End of The Washington Consensus in Britain?

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.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.

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