Monday 17 November 2008

Mark Thirlwell: The End of the Free Market?

The state is back as a major economic player. The current financial crisis has prompted a tsunami of government intervention in rich world financial markets: from regulatory bans on short-selling though to massive public sector bailouts, loan and deposit guarantees, and a series of increasingly dramatic nationalizations.

The severity of the crisis has undermined the reputation of Wall Street and left global financial capitalism as a badly tarnished brand.

Meanwhile, the shifting geography of international economic and financial power means that a series of state-controlled actors - including Sovereign Wealth Funds, State-Owned Banks and State-Owned Enterprises, and National Oil Companies - have become important players on the world economic stage.

Mark Thirlwell looks at the resumed battle for the Commanding Heights of the world economy, and asks whether the apparent victory for the free market secured in the 1980s and 1990s is now about to be overturned in favor of the state - The Lowy Institute for International Policy

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