Time for a New Paradigm? Past and Present Transitions in Economic Policy (Political Quarterly)

1st September 2017

This article, written with Alfie Stirling, seeks to place the UK’s present economic ‘moment’ in historical context. Over the course of the decade since the 2007 financial crisis, it has increasingly been acknowledged that a cyclical crisis has become a structural crisis. The failure of most economists to predict the financial crash in the first place, and the inadequacy of economic policy in responding to its lasting effects, has led many to conclude that economics itself is in crisis. This article seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the present period of disjuncture. Drawing on theories of paradigm shift from both the physical and social sciences, we argue that the speed of change in UK economic policy is comparable to the two major historical transitions that ended with the post‐war consensus and neoliberalism. We conclude by offering some remarks on how and where the present change might take us.