On 15 April Social Market Foundation Director Ian Mulheirn took part in a Political Quarterly debate on ‘The Social Market and its Discontents’, exploring how social market can offer the right framework for addressing the big public policy challenges of the day.
Mulheirn, who wrote an essay in the most recent issue of The Political Quarterly on the social market, proposed that public policy should promote the use of market mechanisms as the most effective means of allocating resources both in the private sector and in many public services. He argued that neither free-market fundamentalism nor statist approaches offer a role for government that will result in either socially acceptable or economically efficient outcomes from the market economy.
Political Quarterly Co-Editor Michael Jacobs responded to Mulheirn’s proposal by arguing that the huge number of problems generated by economies today – from the financial crisis to environmental degradation, from growing inequality to the concentration of corporate power – requires a more systemic government role in shaping and constraining market forces.
A question and answer session, chaired by Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, followed.