The late Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman, once described free market capitalism as “the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another.”
Yet ever since the 2008 financial crash this understanding has come in for intense criticism from those who believe that unregulated markets are the cause of - rather than the solution to - many of society’s problems.
So, can we rely on markets to save us? At the People’s History Museum in Manchester Steve Davies, Education director of the Institute of Economic Affairs went head to head with Catriona Watson, founder of the Post-crash economics society at the University of Manchester, in front of an engaging audience.
Davies began by arguing that the financial crisis was an entirely foreseeable event which, far from expose the failure of unregulated markets, arose out of a misunderstanding of how markets ought to work: