I've been growing increasingly frustrated with the vagueness of the government's new-found enthusiasm for mutualism. Somehow, Ministers have been permitted to make lots of appropriate remarks about the hunger for a new, fairer economic model... and then explain why that requires over-hauling public services through greater employee ownership. So I've tried to hammer out some common sense distinctions on the Demos blog, concluding:
Unless one believes David Cameron’s peculiar 2009 conference speech, the crisis was more a consequence of capital behaving badly than of the state doing so. It seems perverse, therefore, that we should seize the subsequent opportunity to reinvent the state, as necessary as that may be, while leaving capitalism roughly as it was.
This isn't a statement of scepticism regarding mutuals as public service providers, but surely we're all smart enough to make some analytical distinction between a free-at-the-point-of-use hospital and a retailer?