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Dark side of the moonshot: can the state really fix our broken capitalism?

For those running a country, technocratic policy-making has its attractions. But don’t forget the politics

By Diane Coyle   March 2021

Does capitalism need to change? It hardly seems a controversial proposition. The 2008 financial crisis has cast a long shadow. Growth in incomes has been slow for over a decade. Many of the jobs that have been created are also precarious—fixed-term or zero-hours—or unpleasant or badly paid, or all of these. Usage of food banks has rocketed and homelessness is increasing. The potentially catastrophic consequences of climate change seem likely to hit us sooner rather than later. The pandemic has widened the obscene inequalities in already divided societies. At the same time, the response to Covid-19 has vastly extended the scope of the state’s intervention in the economy. In the middle of a tough winter, the government enticingly vows to “build back better,” but it’s hard to believe things can go “back” at all.

Yet changing “the system” is difficult. What new form of capitalism should we be…

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