The priority should be a Rooseveltian attack on monopolies and vested interests, be they state-owned enterprises in China or big banks on Wall Street. The emerging world, in particular, needs to introduce greater transparency in government contracts and effective anti-trust law. It is no coincidence that the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, made his money in Mexican telecoms, an industry where competitive pressures were low and prices were sky-high. In the rich world there is also plenty of opening up to do. Only a fraction of the European Union’s economy is a genuine single market. School reform and introducing choice is crucial: no Wall Street financier has done as much damage to American social mobility as the teachers’ unions have. Getting rid of distortions, such as labour laws in Europe or the remnants of China’s hukou system of household registration, would also make a huge difference.
I love it! Let’s talk about the need to avoid a new Gilded Age (which the article begins with) by crushing teacher unions! I mean, it’s not like we need actual evidence for the claim that teacher unions destroy American social mobility more than Enron or Lehman Brothers or the Koch brothers. The person who wrote this almost certainly has a British accent, clearly that’s enough for me.
Reading this pablum inside a purportedly serious article reminded me of the CATO Institute which provides cover for its ultimate goal of destroying the New Deal state by bringing up social libertarians to talk about ending the war on drugs. Everyone knows that CATO only marginally cares about that and doesn’t have the levers of power on that issue, but it gives it respectability for its real goals. Similarly, The Economist can talk a bipartisan game as a good cover for crushing organized labor.