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After the crisis: back to the Protestant ethic? Six critical observations


Ralf Dahrendorf

The financial crisis of 2008 is analysed as a mentality and dominant culture. The Puritan culture of hard work and savings has been replaced by consumerism and easy credit. The crisis will lead to a lowering of living standards, tax rises and public anger. A new attitude to time needs to emerge that moves economic institutions away from extreme short termism in which stake-holders have been ignored by managers. A responsible capitalism requires a medium-term time perspective.

Ralf Dahrendorf 1

1 Ralf Dahrendorf, who died in July 2009, was a member of the British House of Lords. He was a past Master of St Anthonys College, Oxford and before then Director of the London School of Economics.


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