To discover what comes next, says Geoff Mulgan in this month’s cover story, “After Capitalism”, maybe we should look upwards? Mulgan explains how skylines have long provided a simple test of what a society values: “a few centuries ago the greatest buildings in the world’s cities were forts, churches and temples; then for a time they became palaces. Briefly in the 19th century civic buildings, railway stations and museums overshadowed them. And then in the late 20th century everywhere they were banks.”
In what is one of the most fascinating big picture commentaries on the current crisis published in the UK, Mulgan then goes through the causes of the current moment. More importantly, he shows how the seemingly permanent edificie of contemporary market capitalism in its longer context, and asks what might come beyond it. Only a few decades ago this quesion, he points out, was common—with everything from managerialism and communism both mooted as realistic successors. Now we’ve got out of the habit of predicting such big changes; something Mulgan wants us to re-learn. And in an eclectic range of indicators—from worker cooperatives to urban greening projects—he thinks some of that future, in which markets will be tamed. might already be with us. And looking up to the skyline? As Mulgan concludes: it might be “great leisure palaces and sports stadiums; universities and art galleries; water towers and hanging gardens; or perhaps biotech empires?” As ever, let us know your own opinions below.