The role of corporate elites – notably financial elites – has been at the forefront of political debates in Western capitalist societies since the start of the Great Recession in 2008. The major structural unbalances that had accumulated in Anglo-American economies over the last quarter of the 20th century played a key role in the build up to the financial crisis. Taking advantage of the mobility of capital, business elites promoted a model of shareholder capitalism actively backed up by the state. A process of elite competition took place: financial intermediaries acting on behalf of institutional investors marginalized the alliance between traditional managerial elites and workers that had been at the heart of the Keynesian compromise. This contribution outlines the consequences of the unravelling of the 20th century social pact for workers and their families. It concludes by outlining ‘what is to be done’ to forge a 21st century social pact.
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- Anglo American capitalism
- Corporate governance
- financial intermediaries