Regulatory Capitalism

Regulatory Capitalism

How it Works, Ideas for Making it Work Better

John Braithwaite

Contemporary societies have more vibrant markets than past ones. Yet they are more heavily populated by private and public regulators. This book explores the features of such a regulatory capitalism, its tendencies to be cyclically crisis-ridden, ritualistic and governed through networks. New ways of thinking about resultant policy challenges are developed.

Chapter 8: Is Regulatory Capitalism a Good Thing?

John Braithwaite

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, politics and public policy, public policy, regulation and governance, social policy and sociology, economics of social policy


IMAGINING CAPITALISM WITHOUT THE REGULATION Is regulatory capitalism a good thing? For a civic republican like this writer who approaches such a question by asking if it increases freedom as nondomination (Pettit 1997), the answer is it is a decidedly mixed bag. It generates more dynamic, globalizing markets than classical liberalism might ever have accomplished. Laissez-faire would have been quite incapable of allowing the securitization of the world and the consequent growth of competitive global corporations. Without non-Chicago antitrust, as argued in Chapter 1, this would not have happened. Without the escalated regulation of securities markets, without the increasingly metaregulatory prudential governance of banks and other ļ¬nancial institutions, key economies would have struggled to emerge from crashes, these markets would have disintegrated under the weight of their own venality and communism might have triumphed over capitalism. The same can be said about the welfare state of provider state capitalism that ameliorated, and continues to ameliorate, the inegalitarian excess of laissez-faire. The paradox is that because regulatory institutions, institutions of state provision of infrastructure and redistribution, have succeeded in generating more dynamic markets of increasingly global reach, not only is this creating greater swags of wealth, it is also creating bigger swells of crisis. No sooner does the world feel that it has done rather well in coping with the crisis of the closing of the ozone hole, than it is overwhelmed by the much larger crisis of global warming sending waves crashing into the birthplace of capitalism in the low...

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