Capitalism 4.0

Anatole Kaletsky’s 2010 book has a question that I had not really thought about before – when did the 21st Century start?

1815 and 1918 are the dates, as a historian, you often associate with the previous two centuries. Kaletsky considers key dates in the 21st.

Identified are 1989 (Berlin Wall collapse and the WWW being two of five “major transformations”).

However, the era of “Capitalism 3.0” ended in 2008 (with the collapse of Lehmans) and thus the 21st century began.

For the record:
– Capitalism 1.0 = laissez faire (1776-1932)
– Capitalism 2.0 = state involvement (1931-1980)
– Capitalism 3.0 = Thatcher-Reagan led (1979-2008)

As a history graduate I like to try and step back from issues and consider these trends. In-particular, the point made that it was not just cheap credit that caused the 2008 problems. It was a wider self-destruction of “market fundamentalism”, growth driven by 30m communist souls opened to western goods.

The argument is that we now face a period of balance between state and free-market.

So will we look back and consider a banking crash to be the great apocalyptic moment of our generation – when we moved into a new century of new concepts? Perhaps – its something to keep in mind going forward though.