A panel of experts discussed the nature of capitalism and how to enable economic growth at this year’s Sussex Conversation at the Royal Institution in London on Thursday 18 April, which was both filmed and streamed live by a group of Sussex Multimedia students led by Dr Phil Watten from the Media Technology Lab.
Sarah Montague, regular presenter of BBC Radio 4’sToday programme, chaired the discussion, titled ‘Capitalism is dead: long live capitalism?’
The panel was completed by:
- Nicola Horlick, Chairman, Rockpool Investments LLP
- Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Professor of Science and technology Policy, SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research (Sussex)
- Lord Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy (Warwick)
- Professor Alan Winters, Professor of Economics (Sussex)
In a wide ranging debate about the nature of capitalism and its contribution to well being and the development of society were explored and discussed.
Professor L Alan Winters discussed the importance of understanding how economic growth and the benefits of capitalism were seen by the developing world as well as in Western economies. The “other 6 billion” people on the planet were gaining significantly from the benefits of such growth in their economies and seeing their well-being improve. One challenge was how this could be made sustainable.
Nicola Horlick argued that while disparity of wealth in countries such as the United States was striking, capitalism continued to provide the best model for successful development: there was no quick alternative solution to economic growth.
Lord Skidelsky agreed that “there is still some life in capitalism” but suggested that changes were needed to allow people to enjoy the fruits of economic growth, for example by limiting the working week, and whether GDP growth alone should be the right measure for a successful society.
Sarah Montague, responding, asked Lord Skidelsky whether he could see any political party taking up his ideas. His reply: “I may have to start my own.”
Professor Mazzucato argued that the role of the state in enabling growth was key, advocating investment in research by government which underpinned innovation to stimulate economic growth.
See the film of the event at the University of Sussex MTL YouTube channel.