What is the issue?
Neoliberalism is under challenge. The global financial crisis of 2008 made the results of a 40-year experiment in political economy painfully clear: financially unstable economies generating insufficient investment or innovation to power growth, stagnant or barely rising living standards, sharply rising inequality of income and wealth, and worsening environmental degradation.
Yet despite evidence that neither its analysis nor its prescriptions have worked, the orthodox economics underpinning neoliberalism remains the dominant perspective of most economic commentary and policymaking. The assumption underpinning this project is that it needs to be replaced. By drawing on the best traditions of non-neoclassical economics an alternative understanding of capitalism and a better set of economic policy prescriptions needs to be articulated and promoted.
This is the right time to do this. More and more economists and commentators – including those in mainstream institutions such as the IMF and OECD – now acknowledge that neoliberalism is not working. Better economic analysis and policy prescription cannot in itself effect political change, but it can play a powerful role in encouraging and legitimising it.
What did the project to try to achieve?
- Map the individuals and organisations seeking to change economic thinking and practice system in the UK;
- Assess the effectiveness of these individuals and organisations in realising this goal, drawing on a theoretical and historical analysis of systems change;
- Recommend actions that can be taken to scale this field up to achieve meaningful impact, including potentially some form of coordinating organisation using a theory of change developed during the course of the project.