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The real economy

The American business model is both unattractive and inaccurate. Market economies work only when embedded in social institutions

By John Kay   May 2003

In 1979, Margaret Thatcher became British prime minister and a year later Ronald Reagan was elected US president. With these changes of government came a reversal of the trend to greater government economic intervention and higher state spending which had been characteristic of most of the 20th century and had continued uninterrupted since the second world war. This change of direction was reinforced by the fall of the Berlin wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. One of the most extraordinary episodes in the economic history of the world followed.

It was an American decade. The triumphalism expressed in…

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