The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism


May 19, 2023, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM EDT
PIIE Webcast, Washington, DC
Martin Wolf (Financial Times)

Event Summary

The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) hosts Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, for a presentation on his new book, The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism.

Economic failures have shaken faith in global capitalism. Political failures have undermined trust in liberal democracy and in the very notion of truth. The ties that ought to bind open markets to free and fair elections are being strained and rejected, even in democracy's notional heartlands of the United States and England. Around the world, democratic capitalism, which depends on the determined separation of power from wealth, is in crisis. In his urgent and necessary new book, The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism, Martin Wolf explores how and why the marriage between democracy and capitalism is coming undone, and what can be done to save it.

Powerful voices argue that capitalism is better without democracy; others that democracy is better without capitalism. This book is a forceful rejoinder to both views, offering a deep and lucid assessment of why the marriage between capitalism and democracy has grown so strained and making clear why a divorce would be an almost unthinkable calamity.

Wolf argues that for all its recent failings—slowing growth and productivity, increasing inequality, widespread popular disillusion—democratic capitalism remains the best economic system and that citizenship is not just a slogan or a romantic idea, it's the only concept that can save us. This wise and rigorous exploration of the dynamic between democracy and capitalism shows us that our ideals and our interests not only should align, they must, for everyone's sake.

A discussion with the audience moderated by PIIE president Adam S. Posen follows.