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Striking the right balance

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The global financial crisis has dealt a shattering blow to the neoliberal faith in laissez-faire as the dominant guiding principle for the organisation of markets. The crisis has also exposed the fragility of globalisation: as sources of financing dry up, we are witnessing a dramatic collapse in world trade, shrinking capital flows and a worrying rise in anti-immigrant sentiment. These developments have huge implications for the future of the progressive project. On the one hand, progressive governments and policymakers around the world will need to re-build an international economic and financial order at a time when the tendency is to focus on state-level solutions. On the other hand, as faith in unregulated markets crumbles, they will need to fill an ideological vacuum which risks being taken over by populists. Meeting these challenges will require a critical but forward-looking debate on the issues and options available for reform. The aim of this “handbook of ideas” is to advance this debate by bringing together short policy recommendations and proposals by leading international thinkers on how progressives should approach the major economic and political challenges thrown up by the global crisis. This publication informed, and served as the intellectual preparation, for the 2009 Progressive Governance Conference and Summit in Chile.

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