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David Sainsbury: Progressive Capitalism

 Gini-coefficient of national income distribution around the world (using 1989-2009 CIA estimates)

Gini-coefficient of national income distribution around the world (using 1989-2009 CIA estimates). Featured image: Protestors march up Wall Street towards the New York Stock Exchange, November 2011.

David Sainsbury was Finance Director of J. Sainsbury plc from 1973–1990, Deputy Chairman from 1988–1992, and Chairman from 1992–1998. Served as Minister of Science and Innovation from July 1998 until November 2006. He is the Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. His new book is Progressive Capitalism: How To Achieve Economic Growth, Liberty and Social Justice.

Sainsbury refers to “progressive capitalism” as the “enabling state”. Not as the “command and control” role advocated by traditional socialists. Nor does he discuss the size of government. He argues instead for a government that can uphold the (undefined) “public interest”.

Sainsbury referes to Progressive Capitalism as a belief in capitalism. But it also incorporates three defining beliefs of progressive thinking. 1. The crucial role of institutions. 2. The need for the state to be involved in their design to resolve conflicting interests. 3. And the use of social justice as an important measure of a country’s economic performance. Social justice, defined as fairness, is used as a measure of performance in addition to the rate of economic growth and liberty.

In a capitalism economic system, capital assets are privately owned and goods and services are produced for profit in a market economy.

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) span the full breadth of the social sciences, from economics, politics and law to sociology, anthropology, accounting and finance. Founded in 1895 by Beatrice and Sidney Webb, the School has 16 Nobel prize winners.