This chapter analyses the future of the British economy. It argues that a political economy perspective is necessary to understand the debates surrounding economic growth, and reviews the way in which commentators have analysed the challenges facing public policy. The chapter then examines debates about the financial crash and the deficit, the role and size of the state, and the appropriate growth model. The major alternative approaches to growth currently under discussion lie between a return to the liberal financial model – dominant since the 1980s and sometimes termed ‘privatised Keynesianism’ – and greater government intervention to restore the role of the manufacturing sector, possibly involving a shift to a more European-style corporatism. The chapter concludes by considering three scenarios: a return to growth; a shift in the international environment that renders austerity permanent; and the imposition of radical changes to curb expansion and cut back carbon emissions to sustainable levels.
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