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Professor Anastasia Nesvetailova on BBC Two Newsnight
Politics & Law Series: Expert Comment

UK public’s view on capitalism is changing, City academic tells Newsnight

Professor Anastasia Nesvetailova commented on UK politics and the economy in a Newsnight discussion

by Ed Grover (Senior Communications Officer)

The UK public’s view towards capitalism is starting to change as people seek new solutions to national and global issues, according to a City, University of London academic.

Professor Anastasia Nesvetailova told the BBC Two programme Newsnight that the public was questioning recent governments’ economic policies, including the response to the 2007 financial crisis.

Asked whether she thought views in the UK were shifting, she said: “I would say so. I would say it’s not only in this country... There are structural conditions that have not been really resolved since 2007. Austerity worsened the situation.

“There are bigger problems… ageing, environment, inequality, and these are huge challenges facing the future. And unfortunately, unlike in previous big transitions of capitalism in the twentieth century, we don’t really have a vision of how to resolve them.”

Professor Nesvetailova, who is the Director of the City Political Economy Research Centre in the Department of International Politics, said capitalism was still “the only game in town”. But she suggested people appeared to be supporting different varieties of the system.

“There is an emerging centre ground for a need for resolution or a different diagnosis,” she said.

The academic added that implementing austerity measures was a “fatal political decision” for the UK Government and, despite the damage of the financial crisis, there was a flawed “unspoken understanding” that the country should aim for a return to the type of economy that existed before the crisis.

However, she said this was a major “visionary mistake” because it was “precisely the point where things… broke down”.

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