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Wanted: a fairer capitalism

About the author
Will Hutton is chief executive of the Work Foundation. He writes a weekly column in the Observer.

I never imagined I would live through events like those of the past three weeks. The western banking system faces disintegration. Economists and policy-makers are at loggerheads over how to intervene to stop the panic that is sweeping the world and inspire sufficient trust for the key money and credit markets to reopen.

This is a crisis that has been thirty years in the making - a Gordian knot of libertarian free-market fundamentalism, unregulated globalisation, the collapse of social and political forces committed to fairness, the explosive impact of financial innovations such as "securitisation", and sheer greed. Each has contributed to the fiasco - and all now need to be unravelled if the economy is to have a sustained recovery.

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Will Hutton is chief executive of the Work Foundation. He writes a weekly column in the Observer.  His books include The World We’re In (Little, Brown, 2002), A Declaration of Interdependence: Why America Should Join the World (WW Norton, 2003), and The Writing on the Wall: China and the West in the 21st Century (Little, Brown, 2008)

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