Capitalism is dead, long live capitalism?

Thursday 18 April 2013, 6.00pm
The Royal Institution of Great Britain, London

For most of the last century, the alternative to capitalism was socialism. But socialism, in its classical form, failed. Since the collapse of communism, there has been no coherent alternative to capitalism. Beyond capitalism, it seems, stretches a vista of… capitalism.

Capitalism has always had crises, and will go on having them. But increasingly there is the feeling that western civilisation is unsatisfactory, saddled with a system of incentives that are essential for accumulating wealth, but undermine our capacity to enjoy it. Capitalism may be close to exhausting its potential to create a better life - at least in the world's rich countries. Material gains may continue, although evidence shows that they no longer make people happier. Are we becoming discontented with the quality of a civilisation in which the production and consumption of unnecessary goods has become most people's main occupation?

How much longer can this continue? What are the alternatives? What might life after capitalism look like? Are there plausible modifications we can make to financial capitalism?

The panel discussed the theme: Capitalism is dead, long live capitalism?  as a precursor to the G8 summit, hosted during the summer in the UK.

This event is chaired by Sarah Montague, regular presenter of the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, and panellists include:

  • Nicola Horlick, Chairman, Rockpool Investments LLP
  • Mariana Mazzucato, Professor of Economics, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex
  • Lord Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, University of Warwick
  • Alan Winters, Professor of Economics, University of Sussex