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This is a paper John delivered at a festschrift for Leslie Hannah, the leading British business historian of his (and my) generation. Les and I have been friends and colleagues since we were both young fellows of St Johns College Oxford in the 1970s and my first book, Concentration in Modern Industry, published in 1977, was co-authored with him.
The UK's Labour Party failed to provide a convincing economic narrative and duly lost the 2015 general election. In future it would do well to recognise the role it can play in promoting good corporations; reestablishing the political and social legitimacy of the market economy.
A small fraction of the ingenuity devoted to the construction of complex financial instruments that no one should want could advantageously be applied to the construction of less complex instruments that meet the needs of the Big Society.
More competition and a reduction of the conflicts of interest between different financial services activities is the antidote to gouging. The separation of retail and investment banking would begin a move away from the transaction-focused, sales-driven culture of recent years and reassert the development of long-term relationships with customers.