A new vision of liberalism that is fair and capable of responding to the challenges of a post-COVID world
Liberalism--and its promise of market-led prosperity--was in crisis well before COVID-19. Recent decades have seen a rise in concentrated unemployment and long-term stagnation in real wages in many of the world's leading economies. At the same time, the world has witnessed a dramatic rise of corporate power, concentration of wealth. and the failure of liberal societies to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. To survive, liberalism will need a radical reboot-to find new ways of tackling the current challenges posed by corporate power, inequality, and climate change.
In this book, Rosalind Dixon and Richard Holden argue this reboot means moving beyond recent neo-liberal versions of liberalism toward a more truly democratic form-from the idea of free markets to a vision of fair markets. The book offers a new vision of fair markets as well as the concrete policies and practical steps to make this ideal a reality. It proposes a universal green jobs-guarantee, a significant increase in the minimum wage and government support for wages, universal healthcare based on a two-track model of public and private provision, a new critical infrastructure policy for nation states to sit alongside a commitment to global free trade, and universal pollution taxes, with all proceeds returned directly to citizens by way of a green dividend. All of these policies combine a commitment to markets with democratic commitments to dignity for all citizens, and the regulation of markets in line with majority interests. By addressing underlying systemic problems of liberal societies and simultaneously emphasizing the importance of markets in ensuring the efficiency and sustainability of these policy solutions, Dixon and Holden present a vision of markets that are free, fair, and well-functioning, not simply free.
With clear-headed analysis of how to pay for these ideas and the kind of democratic politics needed to make them a reality, From Free to Fair Markets is an accessible articulation of a new economic path for liberal societies coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.