Ten Years On: The Financial Crisis and the State of Modern Capitalism

Monday 5 February 2018, 7pm | Emmanuel Centre

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Fnancial Crash_Poster

It’s been ten years since we saw suddenly unemployed Lehman Brothers bankers carrying their possessions out of their offices in boxes; since whole neighbourhoods in suburban America turned into empty ghost towns; since the British and American governments pumped trillions into the banking system, saving some institutions and abandoning others. The crash of 2008 and 2009 shook the very foundations of modern capitalism.

So where are we today? Although we may have been spared a second Great Depression, post-crisis productivity has flatlined and the last decade has seen Britain’s worst pay squeeze since the nineteenth century. And according to some, the seeds of today’s political upheavals, from Brexit to Trump to the Corbyn surge, were sown during the 2008 crash, which irreparably damaged public trust in the establishment and its institutions.

To look back at this critical moment for the global economy and examine its repercussions today, Intelligence Squared are bringing together a panel of the country’s top economic experts: Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England during the crash and its aftermath; acclaimed UCL Economics Professor Mariana Mazzucato, who recently advised Jeremy Corbyn on industrial strategy; and Torsten Bell, Director of the Resolution Foundation, a think tank focusing on improving the living standards of those on low incomes. Chairing the discussion will be the BBC’s economics editor Kamal Ahmed.

Has enough been done to regulate the banks and protect our economy from future shocks? Is it only a matter of time before we face a new, even worse crash? And did we let the crisis go to waste by failing to rethink the system and rebalance the economy away from financial services?

Join the debate, hear the arguments and make up your mind.


Torsten Bell

Director of the Resolution Foundation, a think tank focusing on improving the living standards of those on low to middle incomes. Prior to this, he was Director of Policy for the Labour Party and worked in the Treasury as a special adviser to former Chancellor Alistair Darling during the financial crisis.

Mervyn King

Economist and public servant who served as the Governor of the Bank of England from 2003 to 2013, where he saw oversaw the Bank’s response to the global financial crisis and Great Recession. He is the author of The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking and the Future of the Global Economy.

Mariana Mazzucato

Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value and Director of the Institute for Innovation at University College London. She advises policymakers around the world on innovation-led growth, and is the author of the highly acclaimed book The Entrepreneurial State and the forthcoming The Value of Everything: Makers and Takers in the Global Economy.


Kamal Ahmed

Economics editor at the BBC. He was formerly the BBC’s business editor and political editor at The Observer, and Director of Communications at the Equality and Human Rights Commission from 2007 to 2009.

Speakers subject to change