The social market and its discontents - analysing capitalism and public policy

In the new edition of The Political Quarterly, Ian Mulheirn and Michael Jacobs go head to head on the usefulness of social market philosophy.

Mulheirn (Director of the Social Market Foundation) argues that the principles of the social market - a bias towards the efficiency and competition provided by markets, with judicious government intervention to correct their failures - continue to offer the best approach to both economic policy and public service reform. Jacobs (Visiting Professor at UCL) counters that 'market failure' is too thin a concept to understand the huge problems of modern economies - the systemic risks of financial systems, structural under-investment, rising inequality, and catastrophic environmental damage.  A more complex understanding of the system characteristics of modern capitalism is needed, and significant government intervention to deal with its failures.

Read the debate on the Political Quarterly website, and add your contribution.  Ian Mulheirn and Michael Jacobs will be debating the issues live at a PQ event on 15 April at the Institute of Government in London.  For more details, see

Register here.