POLITICAL ideas have always been cyclical. When incomes are falling, the economy is flatlining, credit is scarcer, prices are rising and it is hard to find work, the public always turns against capitalism (or the mixed economy corporatism that these days passes for it); in boom times, it tends to be more relaxed about other people making vast sums of money.
But ideological shifts are not a given. They can be stopped and reversed by determined leaders – as Boris Johnson showed during his election campaign, for example – and by the right policies. The key problem is that many markets have become rigged by massive government interventions in every nook and cranny of the economy, creating inefficiencies, damaging growth and financing vested interests at the expense of the general interest.
Yeah, yeah. Were the problems at the banks, from PPI mis-selling to LIBOR rigging, and above all from the 2008 combustion, caused by excessive government intervention? Are the current difficulties in the meat industry caused by excessive government intervention? You do not have to be of a leftwing orientation to believe that we would all benefit if the government and the regulatory authorities took a rather closer interest in what businesses are up to.