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Governing in the New Hard Times

Andrew Gamble
p. 31-47


After the financial crash of 2008 and the recession of 2009 the western capitalist democracies entered a new era of hard times, marked by a very weak recovery, austerity, powerful deflationary pressures, and the persistence of emergency measures such as record low interest rates and quantitative easing. National-populist parties began to attract increasing support for an anti-globalisation, anti-immigration, and anti-elite platform. The western political order remained resilient, until the vote for BREXIT in the UK and the election of Donald Trump in the US in 2016. In seeking to respond to the cultural and economic grievances that lie at the heart of the national-populist surge, governments are obliged to confront three deep structural problems : secular stagnation, international deadlocks, and political legitimacy. The intractability of these problems has contributed to a sense of drift and failure, and is contributing to the pressure for more radical policies which seek to change fundamentally the shape of the liberal international market order as it has existed for the last seventy years.

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Ce document sera publié en ligne en texte intégral en juin 2018.


The Rise of National Populism
Secular Stagnation
International Deadlocks
Political Legitimacy
Imagining Less Hard Times

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More than eight years have elapsed since September 15th 2008. On that day Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and the financial crisis which had been steadily building for the past eighteen months entered its most dramatic and dangerous phase. The decision of the US administration to refuse to bail out Lehmans, in order to send a message to the rest of the financial sector that no bank was too big to fail created panic in the markets and the prospect not of an orderly deleveraging but of an uncontrolled financial meltdown with incalculable consequences not just for the US economy but for the whole international economy, which over the past twenty years had become more and more integrated both through trade, the increasing free movement of people and vast flows of money and financial claims.

The swift response of governments on both sides of the Atlantic to the Lehman collapse averted a major economic slump, but there was still a heavy cost. The recession in 2009 was seve...

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Référence papier

Andrew Gamble, « Governing in the New Hard Times », Observatoire de la société britannique, 19 | 2017, 31-47.

Référence électronique

Andrew Gamble, « Governing in the New Hard Times », Observatoire de la société britannique [En ligne], 19 | 2017, mis en ligne le 01 juin 2018, consulté le 20 mars 2018. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/osb.1894

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Andrew Gamble

Professor of politics à l'Université de Sheffield et emeritus professor of politics à l'Université de Cambridge

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Observatoire de la société britannique

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