A debate in partnership with the People's History Museum and the SHOW ME THE MONEY exhibition

The theme of our event was:

Was the crash a game changer, or a blip in the endless rise of finance, a mere market correction? Can the market save us, or are we tied to its chaotic fortunes at our peril? As part of the People’s History Museum exhibition Show Me the Money – the image of finance from 1700 to the present. In the wake of the financial crash that began in 2007, many people felt that the idea that ‘the market knows’ had hit the buffers.  Far from being a rational, efficient and self-regulating system that had broken free from the old patterns of boom and bust, the financial markets turned out to be virtually unmanageable and unimaginable in their shadowy complexity.  The vast majority of economists did not see the crash coming, and they were convinced that it was impossible.

People began to talk not merely of mainstream economics being bankrupt, but of the need to rethink capitalism itself.  But eight years later it seems that little has changed: bankers are still receiving massive bonuses, financial institutions are still plagued by scandals, and the role of finance in the British economy seems undiminished.

We ask: Was the crash a game-changer, or a blip in the endless rise of finance, a mere market correction?  Can the market save us, or are we tied to its chaotic fortunes at our peril?

But as serial entrepreneur Luke Johnson said on the CapX site recently. “Following the 2008 financial crisis, the left thought the electorate would reject free markets and see enterprise as predatory. But they did not. People understand that commerce drives the economy, generating inventions, jobs and taxation to pay for necessary government.”

Location

  • Location: People's History Museum
  • Date: 30th Sep 2015
  • Time: 6:30pm - 8:00pm

For the motion

Steve Davies

Education director, Institute of Economic Affairs

Against the motion

Catriona Watson

Founder, Post-crash economics society, University of Manchester

In the chair

Philip Inman

political editor, The Guardian

Gallery