To intervene or not to intervene – that is the question

An ongoing debate in economics for many years has been the extent to which governments should intervene in the economy. The debate has re-emerged in recent months with the global financial crisis as many commentators have arged that had a tighter regulatory system been in place, it could have helped to prevent some of the poorer lending practices of banks internationally. Even the recent G20 meeting (dubbed Bretton Woods II by some analysts) discussed regulatory reform of the international financial system. The two articles below look at this debate about the extent of government intervention from two very different angles. The first is from the perspective of Victorian England and Little Dorritt, while the second (by Peter Mandelson) looks at how globalisation and the financial crisis have informed the debate about state intervention.

So much for ‘late’ capitalism Guardian (24/11/08)
The future active state Guardian (4/12/08)


  1. Examine the advantages and disadvantages of greater state intervention in an economy.
  2. Discuss the extent to which globalisation has changed the need for the amount of state intervention in an economy.
  3. “Strong social welfare systems and redistribution can be contributors to economic growth.” Discuss the extent to which this statement will always hold true.