Seemingly, Joyce McMillan “hopes” the economic doctrine of free market fundamentalism will be left behind no matter who wins the referendum (Perspective, 6 June). Given the doctrine’s roots in Scottish culture, namely in the work of Adam Smith, this appears to be a remote possibility.
Moreover, in Smith’s modern incarnation the political dynamic comes through US economists embracing the American Business Model (ABM). This stresses free market fundamentalism, low business taxes, the primacy of self-interest and minimal government intervention in the economy. A glance at the First Minister’s council of economic advisers suggests the abandoning of free market fundamentalism is a “forlorn hope”.
Isn’t there a predominance of advisers from the US or with American academic connections giving the First Minister advice on finance, banking, taxation and economic policy? It is reasonable to assume, unless there is evidence to the contrary, that the ABM is part and parcel of American academic “conventional wisdom”. Arguably Joyce McMillan should note Keynes’s warning “it is ideas, not vested interests which are dangerous for good or evil”.
Old Chapel Walk