Introduction

For some people, modern economic and financial problems are not really problems at all, but the pain of overcoming out-dated or erroneous ways of doing business before the gain that free market solutions can be relied on to bring. For others, they are a burdensome set of intractable problems for which there is no real hope of remedy. Thus, humanity is tending to two places in both of which responsibility is obviated – one where everything is left to the unseen workings of the market, and the other where the human being resigns himself to powerlessness in the face of events.

If we do not wish to obviate our responsibility, therefore, neither of these attitudes will be of use. We need, rather, to discover a place in which something as magical but not as anonymous as the market operates, but from where, too, new forces of empowerment arise in the human being.

Rare Albion is such a place, but for the moment it is only accessible through the imagination. We need to imagine how it works and what it is like to live there and then, from that point, look back to today, to our current behaviour, in order to sense how we can move from here to there, from now to then. That place need not be at a future date, although given the thickness of our skulls it might well have to be. It could be a heightened understanding of where we are here and now - an imaginary but not on those grounds fictitious place from where we can understand existing conditions in a new light.

The following excerpts from the book Rare Albion provide glimpses into key aspects of the economic life of that place. At the same time, they imply policy considerations of relevance to circumstances in the world today. These glimpses, like briefly opened windows, allow fresh air to enter our understanding of modern economic life, making the view less dismal and the soul more buoyant.