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The distinctiveness of state capitalism in Britain: Market-making, industrial policy and economic space

Silverwood, James and Berry, Craig ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8035-1155 (2022) The distinctiveness of state capitalism in Britain: Market-making, industrial policy and economic space. Environment and Planning A. ISSN 0308-518X

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Abstract

Britain is rarely considered an exemplar of ‘state capitalism’. In contrast, we argue that Britain should be treated as the prototype project of state capitalism in the world economic system, the primary contribution of our paper been to outline the parameters of state capitalism in Britain across two historical periods. Turning the conceptual lens of state capitalism towards Britain raises some challenging issues for the wider literature. Recent scholarship has started to consider greater diversity in regimes of state capitalism and moved beyond the typical nation-state geographical imaginary of state capitalism. Similarly, our paper seeks to introduce a new spatiality to state capitalism with deeper sensitivity to multi-scalar relations. State capitalism in Britain has rarely been bound to the geographical limitations of the nation-state; instead, it has been a transnational project, centred variably on empire, Europe, and the global market – with industrial policy tailored to enable the British economy to exploit and/or service these various spaces by ‘making markets’. We emphasize the often-financialized nature of this industrial policy intervention arguing it is constitutive of a ‘financial state capitalism’.

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