chapter  1
10 Pages

Introduction: To Utopia and back

An important lesson to emerge from the economic history of the last century is that although a number of different macroeconomic regimes were tried at various times and in various countries, none emerged as superior for all times and countries. This was the main conclusion of Andrew Britton’s illuminating historical study some years ago (Britton 2001), which found that different regimes suit different circumstances so that, in a diverse and changing world, no single regime can claim primacy, and no macroeconomic policy can be right for all time. Much depended on the accompanying institutional environment – the political and social institutions, economic structures and behaviour patterns – that confronted policymakers in the 20th century, which also varied greatly through time and across countries, as Britton reminds us (should a reminder be needed).