...a different view

Manchester Capitalism Book Series

Manchester Capitalism is a series of short books which reframe the big issues of economic renewal, financial reform and political mobilisation. The books do so by directly tackling such issues and the underlying conditions of the capitalist imagination in everything from university pedagogy to market bricolage. The underlying economic assumption is that a fundamental reframing of policy choices is necessary before we can reform our capitalism levered on the state, which is in turn levered on debt in all the high income countries. We write in the liberal collectivist tradition of the 1930s about new social techniques to ensure security in a resilient, responsible capitalism. But, we cannot share the faith of Berle or Macmillan in the benevolence and competence of central governments. In the present conjuncture, governments are endlessly repeating experiments in structural reform without confronting the limits of this framework and how it is creating lucrative monopolies for private firms. 

The individual books in our series all combine ‘follow the money’ research with readable discussion of narrative alibis. Present day knowledges are combined with eclectic borrowing from free-thinking earlier critics of capitalism like Wright Mills and Braudel, who deserve better than the neglect of posterity. This distinctive form of analysis was pioneered, in public interest reports about mundane activities like meat supply and railways, by the multi-disciplinary team of researchers working at the Centre for Research on Socio Cultural Change (cresc.ac.uk) now active at the Manchester Capitalism web site (manchestercapitalism.co.uk). Some of the books will be team authored and others will be produced by authors like our colleagues at The Corner House NGO (cornerhouse.org.uk). Our political assumption is that there is much distributed intelligence in our economy and society outside the metropolitan centres of elite decision making. We write to inform and empower that force which the nineteenth century recognised as agenda setting, provincial radicalism and we promote devolved government with a social purpose for the twenty first century.

The first three titles in our new series are:

Andrew Bowman et al., The End of the Experiment: from competition and markets to social licensing in the foundational economy, MUP, published June 2014 approx £10 in paper back or ebook
Andrew Bowman et al., What a Waste: outsourcing and how it goes wrong, MUP, June 2015
Nicholas Hildyard et al., Public Private Partnrships in the South: financial extraction and the growing wealth gap, MUP, January 2016

The End of the Experiment argued that an abstract, generalised preference for competition and markets in all sectors of the UK economy fails to engage sector specifics and results in private profit and social waste. This book suggests that the post 1979 period can be seen as a failed experiment and illustrates this with cases studies of mundane activities like retail banking, dairy and telecoms.

For new readers, Adam Leaver and Karel Williams have explained the salience of our End of the Experiment argument in a short article in the ippr journal Juncture.