Magazine
Latest Issue

The failure of market failure

New Labour economics, in both private and public sectors, is based on the idea of market failure. But the doctrine smuggles in too many neoliberal assumptions, and does not acknowledge collective choices. The centre-left needs something better

By John Kay   August 2007

Does the modern centre-left have an economic theory? It has come, reluctantly, to acknowledge the primacy of the market, but demands intervention to reduce inequality of outcomes and to improve equality of opportunity. The most articulate rationale for this economic philosophy is the doctrine of market failure. This notion was the centrepiece of Gordon Brown’s most extended exposition of economic philosophy, a speech to the Social Market Foundation in 2003. The argument was then amplified in a book published a year later, entitled Microeconomic Reform in Britain. (The status of this volume, part economic treatise, part political tract, is curious.…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect