Following the sub-prime crisis, the credit crunch and the collapse of investment banking, events which have rocked the Western world over the past year, the boast that capitalism can deliver prosperity for all seems less than convincing. Margaret Thatcher’s famous claim that ‘There is no alternative’ accurately described the exhaustion of any left-wing challenge to the market, but it also suggested a lack of a credible moral case for capitalism. This lack is all the more glaring in the context of mounting economic problems.
Sanjaya Baru is presently Visiting Professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore, and a Consulting Senior Fellow of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, London. Between 2004 and August 2008 he was Media Advisor to Prime Minister of India and his spokesperson and chief speechwriter. He has had a career in both media and academia. He was Chief Editor, The Financial Express, India and Editorial Page Editor, The Times of India, and Associate Editor, The Economic Times, India. He was also a Professor at the Indian Council for International Economic Relations, Delhi, and at the Department of Economics, University of Hyderabad. His work on economic policy and national security is summarised in his book, The Strategic Consequences of Indiaâ€™s Economic Performance, Routledge, 2007. He was a Member of Indiaâ€™s National Security Advisory Board and Board of Trade. He is on the Governing Board of the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.
Phillip Blond is a senior lecturer in philosophy and theology at the University of Cumbria. He is an internationally recognised political thinker, social commentator, and philosophical theologian. Phillip writes regularly for the Guardian, Independent, First Post and the International Herald Tribune. He is currently writing Red Tory, a book on radical progressive conservatism. He is interested in updating Catholic critiques of the state and the market. He is also working on a new conservative political economy, fundamental to which is the revival of local and regional economies.
Dolan Cummings is research and editorial director at the IoI. He edits the IoI's reviews website, Culture Wars and is a co-convener of the yearly Battle of Ideas festival, next taking place in London in October 2007.
Cummings's interests lie in the relationship between ideas and politics, the role of the intellectual, ideology, and religion in public life. He is especially interested in the question of intellectual authority and how it is contested. Cummings firmly believes that politics should start from the needs and passions of the public, and that this puts a premium on open debate and free speech. Most recently he has edited a collection of essays, Debating Humanism by contributors to the Battle of Ideas 2005.
His interest in the role of intellectuals builds on Ideas, Intellectuals and the Public, a conference he organized in 2003.
Frank Furedi is a social theorist and a prolific author whose books have been translated in 12 languages. He is Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent in Canterbury.
Furedi’s research is oriented towards the study of the workings of precautionary culture and risk aversion in Western societies. In his books he has explored controversies and panics over issues such as health, children, food, new technology and terrorism. At present he is completing on education and the contestation of authority in contemporary society. Furedi’s books and articles provide an authoritative yet lively account of key developments in contemporary cultural life. Using his insight as a professional sociologist, Furedi has produced a series of agenda-setting books that have been widely discussed in the media. Furedi regularly comments on radio and television. He has appeared on Newsnight, Sky and BBC News, the Today programme, and a variety of other radio and television shows.
Furedi’s articles are published in the New Scientist, Guardian, Independent, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Wall Street Journal, Independent on Sunday, The Times, Sunday Times, Observer, Sunday Telegraph, Toronto Globe and Mail, Christian Science Monitor, Times Higher Education Supplement, spiked-online, Times Literary Supplement, L’Espresso, Harvard Business Review, Die Welt and Die Zeit amongst others.
Read economics at Cambridge and post-graduate economics at Oxford. Started as an economic forecaster, gave it up because it doesnâ€™t work. Director, Henley Centre for Forecasting 1982-92, sold the company to the advertising/PR conglomerate WPP Group Plc. Founded Volterra Consulting in 1998 to develop new ways of thinking about how the economy and society actually work. Publishes in a wide range of academic journals e.g. Physica A, Mind and Society, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Diplomacy and Statecraft, Futures, Economics E-Journal, Economic Affairs. Writes on a reasonably regular basis for media such as Sunday Times, Prospect, on a variety of topics in political economy.
Sanjaya Baru explains that while every economic system eventually faces its own crises, only capitalism has been able to overcome collapse. He argues the dynamics of capitalism produce its own saviors.
Phillip Blond explains that while both capitalism and socialism operate by dispossessing people of their wealth, a "Catholic Economy" would allow individual wealth while ensuring there's enough to go around.