Those who hoped the collapse of financial markets would usher in the end of neoliberalism and rehabilitate support for traditional social democratic policies programmes have been disappointed. It is not only the irrationality of markets which is the focus of public discontent, but the inefficiency of states and the inability of elected governments to humanise and control global market capitalism. Despite recent successes, social democratic parties in the EU have become locked in a cycle of electoral under-performance. The crisis remedies of the Right appear more simple and direct in their diagnosis, casting the state as restrictive, wasteful and inefficient. Abstract theoretical debates on the Left about a ‘paradigm shift’ in Western capitalism in the aftermath of the crisis have had little traction. So, in the aftermath of the 2008 crash prompted by the failure of US financial services conglomerate, Lehman Brothers, this book addresses a deceptively simple question: what is to be done? It makes the case for a new, post-crisis settlement harnessing the dynamic traditions of social liberalism and social democracy as the foundation for progressive reforms geared towards alleviating crisis aftershocks and addressing the deep-seated structural challenges afflicting western capitalist democracies.
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