By Anatole Kaletsky
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Extra resources for Capitalism 4.0: The Birth of a New Economy in the Aftermath of Crisis
The central argument is that capitalism has never been a static system that follows a fixed set of rules, characterized by a permanent division of responsibilities between private enterprise and governments. Contrary to the teachings of modern economic theory, no immutable laws govern the behavior of a capitalist economy. Instead, capitalism is an adaptive social system that mutates and evolves in response to a changing environment. When capitalism is seriously threatened by a systemic crisis, a new version emerges that is better suited to the changing environment and replaces the previously dominant form.
S. National Economic Council, made the following prediction: “When historians look back on the economic figures for 2010-19, I will be very surprised if they are not much better than the figures for 2000-09. ”9 No one at the time paid much attention, because a New Normal of stagnant living standards and weak growth was generally believed to be inevitable—perhaps even morally imperative—after the financial excesses of 2007-09. But if governments and central banks use the economic tools at their disposal—and if political and business leaders seize the opportunities presented by the emergence of a new capitalist system—the optimism expressed by Summers could prove to be justified.
What does this approach imply about the crisis that reached its climax in the weeks after the collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008? Rather than destroying or permanently crippling the international financial system, as many commentators suggested at the time, this crisis probably marked the start of a fourth great transition in the 250-year history of modern capitalism. Far from suffering extinction, the capitalist system has started evolving into a new species, which will presumably be better suited for life in the early twenty-first century.