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A new third way

The regulated market economies of Germany, Japan and east Asia are facing unprecedented challenges from Anglo-American neo-liberal orthodoxy. But, argues John Plender, some of the benefits of co-operative, high-trust capitalism can be retained at company level through employee ownership

By John Plender   February 1998

Japan is trapped in an economic morass. The Asian tiger economies are falling piecemeal into the arms of the IMF. Germany suffers from political stasis and record unemployment. Scandinavian welfarism has run into a financial road-block. Against this background the notion that there are different and equally viable forms of capitalism, reflecting divergent national preferences and institutional arrangements, is under unprecedented attack. Anglo-American neo-liberal orthodoxy, with its emphasis on contractual property rights, deregulation and flexible labour markets, is increasingly trumpeted as the pre-eminent model.

This is a dramatic change. Not so long ago, volumes of academic research were devoted to…

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