When Conservatives Lose Faith in the Markets
A new economic leitmotif for conservatives
PUBLISHED18. SEPTEMBER 2023
READING TIME2 MIN
Is rethinking the market and the state something that only leftists and progressives do and should do? Judging by what some conservative economists are saying, this is a reasonable assumption. After decades of naive faith in markets, the logical thing to do is to move in the other direction. Nevertheless, it is of course nonsensical to assume that the replacement of the obviously failed market-liberal paradigm of an entire society is only a matter of political attitude.
This is also suggested by the diagnosis recently put forward by the political scientist Thomas Biebricher in our New Economy Short Cut. He argues that one of the main reasons for the decline of moderate conservative parties is that they have allowed themselves to be dragged along by the liberal economic dogma – even though this is in many ways incompatible with conservative values such as stability or national sovereignty. This means that moderate conservatives in particular need an alternative to a naive market-liberal paradigm. Just a conservative one.
Rana Foroohar wrote in the Financial Times this week that such a reorientation is already taking place in the US. There is a growing number of Republicans who see the excesses of the markets as a moral decay. Republicans are saying goodbye to the idea of trickle-down. According to Rana, they are also de facto concerned with returning to a less extreme form of capitalism as it existed a few decades ago, often under conservative governments.
There is good reason for this: when it comes to redefining the geopolitically naive German export model – as Shahin Vallée describes in a forthcoming study for us – this also corresponds to a conservative value of preserving the country’s sovereignty, of not making the nation too dependent. Reducing excessive wealth inequality in the country is also part of restoring meritocracy, which is another conservative value.
In other words, if there is an urgent need for social reorientation, it is not just for one camp or the other, but for all. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a social paradigm that reduces divisions.