The Commanding Heights Revisited

by Henry Farrell on October 6, 2008

When I suggested a couple of weeks ago that the intellectual hegemony of free market capitalism was under threat, Dan Drezner expressed “polite skepticism”:

Is this the beginning of a norm shift in the global economy? It’s tempting to say yes, but I have my doubts. The last time the United States intervened on this scale in its own financial sector was the S&L bailout — and despite that intervention, financial globalization took off. The last time we’ve seen coordinated global interventions like this was the Asian financial crisis of a decade ago — and that intervention reinforced rather than retarded the privilege of private actors in the marketplace. In other words, massive interventions can take place without undercutting the ideological consensus that private actors should control the commanding heights of the economy.

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