The economic upheaval and institutional failings of recent years have prompted two kinds of response, both of which are to be expected in the wake of major disruption.
One has been to maintain or restore the status quo. Some in industry and financial services have sought to safeguard the incentives and structures that serve their interests, if not necessarily others’. Politicians have resisted significant constitutional reform and watched nervously as the political system continues to creak and strain. Public sector workers have fought to preserve employment conditions which, while laudable in principle, may no longer be affordable in practice.
The other response has been to challenge and disrupt, rather than conserve. From the emergence of alternative financial services such as peer lending sites, to the sudden proliferation of free schools, we’re seeing a wave of institutional innovation.