Category Markets

Out of business? The rise (and fall?) of public service marketisation

I’ve written a piece for the IPPR Progressive Review charting the waxing and waning of choice and competition in English public services. Here’s the introduction: For around 30 years, from the early 1980s to the early 2010s, the marketisation of public services was perhaps the most prominent and significant domestic policy trend in British politics. It […]

Save the price tag!

Among the innumerable ways in which life has got better for those of us living in rich countries over the past 200 years, one of the most easily overlooked is the price tag. In the early 19th Century, almost every purchase involved a process of haggling – very few goods or services had set prices. […]

Does Varieties of Capitalism Theory condemn Britain to inequality?

Jeremy Cliffe made some interesting points on twitter over the weekend about the relevance of Varieties of Capitalism (VoC) theory to Britain today. Cliffe’s own BBC documentary provides a good introduction to the theory, but here is the general idea.  VoC suggests that successful modern economies can take one of two forms: they can be […]

Minimum Unit Alcohol Pricing and the case against the EU

*Full disclosure: I work for an organisation that is in favour of minimum unit pricing, but am writing here entirely in a personal capacity* Sam Bowman of the Adam Smith Institute thinks it’s a joke that anybody might take the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) ruling on the Scottish Government’s policy of a minimum unit […]

Privatised Healthcare: What Would We Lose?

  Contrasting the different challenges facing British and American healthcare, Janet Daley attacks the “anachronistic and unsatisfactory” arrangement of a “state-owned-and-run monopoly of medical provision”. This throws up a number of obvious issues around the equity, efficiency and sustainability of these different models. But even aside from the questions of whether state run healthcare is […]

Nationalise energy?

Thinkers and politicians have been debating the limits and failures of markets since the beginning of capitalism. However, the question of which spheres of society are appropriate for free markets is increasingly pertinent, given the current economic and political context. Since the financial crisis, there has been greater awareness of the fallibility of the neo-liberal […]