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Making Markets Work for the Many

Making Markets Work for the Many

About this Workstream

The financial crash of 2008 exposed Britain’s economic settlement as fundamentally broken. Inquiries undertaken immediately after the crisis exposed a culture in the banking industry that revered short-term profiteering over long-term national prosperity.

The financialisation of the British economy and its subsequent implosion has undermined living standards and continued to weaken the regional economies that most British citizens rely upon for their economic welfare. The market fundamentalism that had propagated the rise and fall of Britain’s financial sector, and which has dominated the mind-sets of many of those who make our laws, has been exposed as unfit to deliver the prosperity, market access and competition it purported to promote. Apparent alternatives such as a massive increase in bureaucratic regulation or the outright nationalisation of the big banks only compound rather than address the problems that we face.

We argue that, for markets to be open to the many rather than just the few, a different approach to governing markets, and in particular financial markets, needs to be developed. It is an unfortunate fact that, despite much reform in this area, many banks and financial institutions are still not supporting our small businesses or communities as they should. Banks are potentially among society’s great economic and social enablers, and have the ability to be a truly transformative force for good in society. Yet the uncompetitive, homogeneous and detached nature of the sector means that it cannot currently serve the needs of society or support the entrepreneurship we need to prosper in the new global race. To open up markets to promote wider competition and innovation, we argue for the reform of existing financial companies and the creation of new institutions to finance the needs of wider society and not just the interests of those who work in the Square Mile. We also consider the needs of a new re-balanced economy to be one that prioritises manufacturing, promotes regional economic growth and helps to shape a new agenda for the city regions that are so crucial for attaining widespread affluence.

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