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Where Are Liberals When We Most Need Them?

How neoliberalism replaced the embedded liberalism of the past The term “liberalism” is somewhat confusing as it refers to “progressivism” in the US and the market-based laissez-faire ideology in Europe. But it should not be abandoned, as it stresses the historical continuity between the consecutive forms of liberalism since the Industrial Revolution. Powerless in the face of the 1970s stagflation and… Read the full article here

The Economics of the New Age

Why tech companies can’t stop growing In the age of the automobile and mass production, companies were obsessed with economies of scale. At some point they had to stop growing because the marginal cost of production was too high. By contrast, in the age of computing and networks, companies pursue increasing returns at scale: the more they grow, the easier it gets. Even when tech companies…

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How Technology Drives Institutional Change

Why modern history is a succession of paradigm shifts Carlota Perez devised a model that effectively explains the last 250 years as a series of five consecutive technological revolutions. Each revolution spawns its own “techno-economic paradigm” through two different phases: the installation phase, characterized by financial speculation and entrepreneurial drive; then the deployment phase, when governments set up new institutions to sustain a more inclusive growth. The current…

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The Lost Art of State Intervention

How the consensus around state intervention eroded over time It took the crisis of the 1930s for business, academic and political elites to come together in favor of a more active government in social and economic matters. Only the state could protect businesses and individuals against the risks that came with the more volatile Fordist economy. But starting in the 1970s, the aspirations for individual emancipation…

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A Liberal History of the Middle Class

How liberalism created nations and strengthened capitalism Liberalism’s first achievements — the Magna Carta, the French Revolution, the US Declaration of Independence — were about empowering individuals against governments. Indeed before the emergence of modern states, the vast majority of individuals didn’t participate in the nascent capitalist system. Democratic nations supported by an emerging bourgeoisie only took shape after revolutions, which gave rise to a modern centralized administration and……

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Software Eating Democracy

How Big Business learned to buy influence and push its agenda With the emergence of mass media in the 1960s, all the intermediary bodies and political machines that used to structure our democracies lost their political sway. The rise of individualism inspired tremendous fear in business leaders who sought ways to make do with the situation. They soon learned that in the age of mass media…

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