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Has capitalism failed the world?

Former financial regulator Lord Adair Turner discusses the role of banks, the politics behind austerity, and capitalism.

Last updated: 01 Jul 2013 07:51
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Head to Head  is Al Jazeera’s new forum of ideas - a gladiatorial contest tackling big issues such as faith, the economic crisis, democracy and intervention in front of an opinionated audience at the Oxford Union.

At the famous Oxford Union, Mehdi Hasan challenges former top financial regulator Lord Adair Turner on the role of the banks, the politics behind austerity and whether capitalism has failed.

It seems that mistakes made in Wall Street and the City of London are paid for by people around the world, but can we govern greed within the realm of capitalism or is it all just money down the drain? Is austerity really needed? Can we trust the banks?

I think we, as authorities, central banks, regulators, those who are involved today, are the inheritors of a 50-year-long, large intellectual and policy mistake.

Lord Turner

Lord Turner said: “I’m not an egalitarian, I’m not a socialist, but I am worried about the sheer extent of the inequality that’s now growing. I think finance is part of that story.”

Lord Turner was at the helm of the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the wake of the financial meltdown and is now trying to find ground-breaking solutions to global problems at the Institute of New Economic Thinking. Hasan challenges a man at the heart of rethinking the global economic system about his past experience, his present thoughts, and our future.

“I am concerned that we have not been radical enough in our reform,” concluded Lord Turner.

But he also sounded a note of hope based on some of the new ideas and policies coming out from previously orthodox bastions of economic thinking.

Joining our discussion are: Jon Moulton, a venture capitalist and the founder of the private equity firm Better Capital. He has nurtured a reputation for forthrightness even to the point of challenging his private equity peers for abusing tax regimes. He is also one of the few men in the City of London who warned about the impending crash before it happened; Professor Costas Lapavitsas, who teaches economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London and is the author of several notable books on the crash and its consequences including Crisis in the Eurozone and Financialisation in Crisis; and Ann Pettifor, the director of PRIME (Policy Research in Macroeconomics), and a fellow of the New Economics Foundation. She was one of the first to warn about the debt crisis in her book The Coming First World Debt Crisis, and is also well-known for her leadership of the successful worldwide campaign to cancel developing world debt - Jubilee 2000.


Watch Has capitalism failed the world? with Lord Turner from Friday, July 11, at the following times GMT: Friday: 2000; Saturday: 1200; Sunday: 0100; Monday 0600.

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Al Jazeera
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