Panic attacks “neo-liberal” model

In: Uncategorized

3 Apr 2007

Yesterday’s Financial Times included a comment by Mica Panic, a fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge, attacking the Anglo-Saxon “neo-liberal” economic model. In his view the European model, and Scandinavia in particular, as offering the highest levels of well-being. He also argues for a separation of well-being from growth. To quote his article:

“The importance of these comparisons is that they consistently show that countries with social democratic or corporatist models of capitalism have markedly higher levels of social well-being than those, such as the US and UK, with a liberal free-market model.

“Equally important, the reason for this is not that they have higher gross domestic product per head but that their social attitudes, objectives and policies are very different. Unlike the US and, since 1979, the UK, these countries attach great importance to social cohesion and, therefore, to equality of opportunity.”

It seems to me what Panic is missing is the need to raise the living standards of the poor in America and Britain still further. The need is for more growth rather than less. It is also striking that much of the discussion of well-being is underpinned by a fear of social breakdown.

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