How to save the market economy in Europe

By Mario Monti

If the world economy is in crisis, the market economy is even more in crisis. It is seen as unfair, having generated unacceptable inequalities; and inefficient, having attracted massive resources into financial activities whose contribution to the economy is questioned. Yet the world needs an integrated market economy, a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for growth and welfare.

The Group of 20 countries has focused on recovery plans and financial regulation. But this is only a first step towards restoring the credibility of the market economy and taming economic nationalism, the seed of disintegration.

The key test for market economies, perhaps even for democracies, will be whether they master the growing in­equalities, including within countries, caused by ungoverned globalisation and aggravated by the crisis. This requires two developments: getting the best out of competing economic models; and firming up market integration by moderating tax competition. While the former has started, the latter is not even on the agenda.

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