In the last twenty-five years, many countries have embarked on programmes of economic liberalisation. But, David Henderson argues, it is a mistake to believe that economic liberalism has triumphed: anti-liberal forces are strong and in some respects have gained ground.
Henderson analyses these forces, new and old. In addition to the continuing hold of ‘pre-economic ideas’, new elements include anti-market NGOs, a wider circle of perceived ‘victims of injustice’, the spread of labour market regulation, and an ‘alarmist consensus’ about globalisation and environmental degradation. The combination of old and new ideas results in ‘new millennium collectivism’, which provides the main impetus behind the anti-liberalism of today.
Geoffrey Harcourt, in a commentary, agrees with some of Henderson’s views, but disagrees particularly on the need for minimum standards in labour markets. He contends also that Henderson is too hard on NGOs and too impressed with the long-term competitive equilibrium model. David Henderson responds to the comments and sets out further issues that need to be explored.