What triumph of the free market?

We have just had 30 years in which the ideology of the free market has been dominant. And yet, during that time, what has happened to the percentage of the British economy controlled by the Government? It has remained static, at around 45 per cent – or, by some calculations, increased slightly. The state, that is, has been able to increase its control even when there has been almost unanimous agreement that it would be far better if it were to control a much smaller slice of our collective wealth.

Despite what we\’re told so often, that the last 30 years have seen some triumph of neo-liberalism in the UK, all that has really been managed is a holding pattern. And what\’s likely to happen as and when free market ideas are not dominant?

What, then, is likely to happen now that free markets are going out of fashion, and state supervision is becoming an intellectually respectable alternative? The short answer is: a rapid increase in the portion of the economy controlled by the state. The process has its own momentum. It never stops of its own accord. Everyone should know what it will mean: permanent economic stasis, if not contraction; a lack of innovation and development; a diminution of opportunity for everyone; and an enormous increase in bureaucracy, waste and inefficiency. That has been the long-term legacy of state control everywhere it has been tried.

Hard to argue against that really.

In fact, has there ever been a society with, say, more than 50% of GDP processed through government that has had vigorous growth? Anyone care to take a stab at finding the figures?

1 thought on “What triumph of the free market?”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    “In fact, has there ever been a society with, say, more than 50% of GDP processed through government that has had vigorous growth? Anyone care to take a stab at finding the figures?”

    A bigger worry is whether there has been one with more than 50% of the GDP in the government’s hands that has remained free.

    That the Gulf States are able to remain autocracies is obvious – the oil money gives the rulers vastly more resources than the rest of society put together. So they can hire soldiers and buy off opposition.

    Similarly it must be obvious to anyone that a state where the government controls more money than the rest of society put together cannot have a free civil society almost by definition – a free society is one where the people are stronger than the government.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *