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Abstract only
Emma Barrett

This chapter traces the Bank’s concerns and detailed planning, both in its own capacity and as tasked by the Government, throughout the Stock Exchange reform period. Overwhelming evidence that reforms emanated from the Government and Bank challenge the notion that the Big Bang was the ‘unintended consequence’ of government action and, indeed, the Bank’s official position, designed to carry the market, that reforms were practitioner-led. In the face of change, the Bank’s overriding aim was to maintain a central stock market, controlled and regulated by the authorities. Ensuring the Stock Exchange built and controlled the market’s electronic hardware and software was a means to this end, and guarded against fragmented, unruly markets. Ultimately, prudential regulation was sacrosanct whereas precise trading arrangements and even foreign ownership of firms were not. Control of the central market outweighed later stated objectives of attracting international capital and strengthening London as a world financial centre. Indeed, it was only after reforms had been agreed in principle that the Bank turned its attention to the impact of international capital and foreign competition on the City. An evolving awareness of the likely impact of reforms on British firms, stark choices and interventions to protect British interests show that then, far from embracing international capitalism, the Bank sought to protect national interests, often imperceptibly through the exercise of soft power. In the end, protectionism proved insufficient, but revealing intent challenges the ‘death of gentlemanly capitalism’ thesis which claims the authorities betrayed the City by not protecting it.

in ‘Survival capitalism’ and the Big Bang
Abstract only
Emma Barrett

This chapter shows how the elite stockbrokers Cazenove responded to the Big Bang deregulation of the financial sector, using social networks and inherited practices to navigate what was an ostensibly technical and modernising revolution. The Thatcher administration’s reform of the London Stock Exchange was an economic enterprise intended to end restrictive practices, open the City to competition and, Survival Capitalism argues, secure the mechanism for selling gilts. On the face of it, a more open meritocratic financial sector marked the ‘death of gentlemanly capitalism’ and coalesced with a political agenda for entrepreneurialism and popular capitalism. Yet this case study shows how Cazenove’s culture drove its strategy, that privilege and hierarchy were sustained by influential cross-sector networks, and that there was resistance to change, even though technological change and new financial instruments were embraced as part of a strategy which mixed innovation with tradition. Essentially, elite networks persisted in the 1980s deregulated economy as established relationships were used to optimum effect and became more important after Big Bang. A more mutually supportive relationship between finance and industry than has hitherto been imagined is also demonstrated. By showing how a modernising revolution was navigated using social networks and traditions, this chapter restores the role of culture to financial history. It contributes to a body of work in twentieth-century British history which challenges the perception that neoliberal ideas were consistently applied under Thatcherism and complicates the notion of a coherent Thatcherite project.

in ‘Survival capitalism’ and the Big Bang
Abstract only
Emma Barrett

Too often, Britain’s financial revolution has been attributed to the logics of market forces and new technologies. Reforms are deemed to have been inevitable, and often appear faceless. As the concluding chapter reaffirms, Survival Capitalism has sought to restore intent to this history. It has assessed responses to a whole range of factors by a host of actors and institutions as they reacted to threats and opportunities. It has traced an evolutionary process and shone light on the ways in which reforms were crafted by real people and shaped by their concerns and existing historically specific conditions. Accordingly, it has revealed the highly mediated and contingent nature of Thatcherite reforms and the constructed nature of markets – even international financial markets. Although informed by an over-arching philosophical framework, the Thatcher government was, in fact, as flexible and adaptive as the market approach it constructed. Deregulation was motivated by economic nationalism as well as free market ideology. The Government sought to deliver its monetary policy, maintain credibility and fund its reform programme at as low a cost as possible. It also sought to protect British interests and was not averse to intervening in markets when the need arose. Undoubtedly, the short-lived Truss administration applied the wrong lessons from British economic and financial history of the 1980s. As Big Bang 2.0 is an imagined growth strategy for the 2020s, Survival Capitalism is a timely reminder of the need to take seriously the importance of networks and culture when seeking to effect change.

in ‘Survival capitalism’ and the Big Bang
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Derek Averre

The concluding chapter revisits the key debates, outlined in our explanatory framework and followed up in successive chapters, to draw conclusions about how the Arab uprisings and the conflicts in the MENA region have influenced Russia’s relations with regional actors and the Western powers. We identify the key driving factors explaining Russia’s actions and consider how its more active engagement in the region has impacted its own policy thinking and practice. We challenge some of the key assumptions in the literature on Russian foreign policy since the inception of the Arab Spring and consider how Russia’s experiences might impact its future wider role in the regional and international order. We conclude with, first, a personal assessment of the collective failures of both Russia and the Western powers to mitigate the mass atrocities generated by the MENA conflicts, their diverging approaches to international order and the implications for future multilateral cooperation; and second, how Russia’s experience of the Syria conflict has influenced its policy thinking and practice in the present war in Ukraine, particularly in terms of Moscow’s resort to military statecraft to achieve its political and security objectives.

in Russian strategy in the Middle East and North Africa
Abstract only
Emma Barrett

Chapter 1 examines the ideas and ideology that informed Thatcherism’s overarching free market philosophy, from the re-constitution of macro- and microeconomic policy to the introduction of free market reforms. These were crucial in shaping financial reforms but there was a parallel set of macroeconomic objectives which also drove reforms. With trade in government debt periodically halted by gilt-edged buyers’ strikes in the 1970s and early 1980s, and the real possibility that this could topple a government, being able to sell government debt at a time and in the quantity of the Government’s choosing was a form of statecraft. The Thatcher government’s preferred means to this end – the introduction of an auction system to sell gilts – required structural reform of the Stock Exchange system because auctions were technically impossible under existing rules. Having come to this conclusion, the Government sought to harness international capital (to redress the increased volatility associated with auction systems) and ensure new technologies were captured by the Stock Exchange for it to remain a relevant, central global market. Thus, capital and new technologies were not just forces for change, they were elements to be exploited and, in the case of technology, controlled – at least for the critical period. The chapter considers the legacies of Thatcherite financial reforms, including the establishment of a new consensus on Britain’s political economy as the City came to represent a growth model for the economy, and the ramifications – including the Government’s role in the origins of subsequent financial crises.

in ‘Survival capitalism’ and the Big Bang
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The Arab Spring and Russia
Derek Averre

The introduction chapter opens with an overview of the international reaction to the Arab uprisings and the evolution of Russia’s response, initially through international diplomacy and subsequently through its military intervention in the Syrian civil war. We highlight the puzzles presented by Russian foreign policy in the MENA region and introduce the explanatory framework, posing key questions that are explored in subsequent chapters of the book. We focus on the beliefs of Russia’s governing elite about the international system and how these beliefs shape its approach to norms relating to sovereignty, the use of force and human rights, underpinning its mediation in MENA conflicts and its relations with the regional and external powers; on Russia’s approach to a MENA regional security environment beset by intensified inter-state rivalries and intra-state conflicts; how Russia deals with militant Islamism, shaped by its own experience of insurgency in its restive North Caucasus region; and how domestic political, institutional and societal factors have influenced Moscow’s decision-making in response to the uncertainties generated by the Arab uprisings. We challenge common assumptions in the Western literature that Russia’s MENA policies are motivated fundamentally by geopolitical confrontation, with Russia recovering its Cold War-era strategic presence through competition-by-proxy and unwavering support for regional dictatorships. Finally, we outline the research design, emphasising our extensive use of evidence derived from primary source material, academic writing by Russian and MENA experts as well as Western scholars, and highlighting the contribution of the volume to the literature on Russian foreign policy.

in Russian strategy in the Middle East and North Africa
Abstract only
Emma Barrett

Beset with the economic and political conditions of the 1970s, the Conservatives in opposition and early office were, according to insider Sir Adam Ridley, ‘dealing with what they thought were existential problems, about the survival of capitalism’. This chapter introduces the concept of ‘survival capitalism’ as a term for the responses and strategies that were developed by a myriad of actors and institutions in reaction to seemingly existential threats. They crafted these using networks of influence to ensure capitalism not only survived but thrived in a challenging period of global economic change. Ultimately, this led to the expansion of capitalism as it became an agent of change, driving popular capitalism. The chapter argues reforms were culturally informed and highly contingent while the role of capital was complex; it was harnessed by the nation state for reasons of statecraft and not simply a vector for change. The literature on Thatcherism, conservatism, neoliberalism, the City and the Big Bang is explored, and the stock market system explained. Methodologically, the focus is on archival sources and oral histories. The benefits of attending to culture and intent are expounded. Both cut across structure and agency and take account of circumstances, ideas, policies, culturally constituted institutional preferences and objectives, actions and reactions. Finally, structure is explained. The book begins with the authorities – the Government and the Bank of England – before moving to the London Stock Exchange which forms a bridge with two case study chapters on elite stockbrokers Cazenove and Lloyd’s of London.

in ‘Survival capitalism’ and the Big Bang
Abstract only
Emma Barrett

Chapter 5 opens with a White House ceremony in which the President of the United States presented five astronauts with the Lloyd’s Silver Medal for Meritorious Service in 1984. The British Ambassador deemed the ceremony ‘a brilliant stroke of public relations genius’ by Lloyd’s after it had successfully commissioned a space odyssey – at a cost of $180m – to recover two rogue space satellites. The event exemplified Lloyd’s pioneering spirit and leading edge in world insurance, signified it was a major force in the United States and hinted at Lloyd’s influence with government. This chapter’s ethnographic approach highlights tensions between tradition and modernity at Lloyd’s and show how beliefs, meanings and historic memory impacted modern business practices. Lloyd’s skilfully navigated Thatcherism, demanding government support and recruiting from government on the one hand and resisting government interventions on the other. Relationships with the British Embassy and the UK Treasury were successfully exploited when Lloyd’s strove to retain beneficial trading arrangements with the US to the relative detriment of US domestic companies. State intervention in, and protection of, markets extended to the ‘Reconstruction and Renewal’ of Lloyd’s in the 1990s, which amounted to an early example of a networked rescue package for an institution too big to fail. Challenging vested interests and ending restrictive practices is a hallmark of neoliberalism long associated with Thatcherism. Yet, by demonstrating government pragmatism, classical forms of governance, and the failure to disrupt privileged interests and restrictive practices, this chapter disrupts traditional understandings of Thatcherism and neoliberalism.

in ‘Survival capitalism’ and the Big Bang
Emma Barrett

This chapter opens with perhaps Sir Nicholas Goodison’s last interview on reform of the London Stock Exchange in which he reflected at length on his role and legacy. It explores the struggles of key individuals to formulate and sell a reform agenda and considers how modernising reforms were shaped by embedded habits, traditions and rules. Stressing continuities as well as change in the City, it describes the ongoing importance of relationships forged on the Stock Exchange floor and also highlights the enduring role of City clubs (where several interviews for the book took place). They helped to maintain an old order during uncertain times, for instance by vetting the credentials of newcomers. Using the new Douglas French Archive, the chapter also casts light on relationships between the City and government; shows how practitioners and enterprises understood the opportunities and threats they faced; and how practitioners sought to shape reforms. A mini case study of Barclays Bank explains its foray into integrated investment banking, while a focus on Warburg and Greenwell’s shows how the distinct cultures of these famous firms shaped their particular Big Bang strategies and the City more generally. Shining a light on the dynamic reform process, and the way it was shaped by networked individuals and embedded culture and practices, counters narratives of inevitability and underscores the historically specific nature of neoliberal reforms.

in ‘Survival capitalism’ and the Big Bang
The challenge of the Arab Spring
Derek Averre

Chapter 5 explores Russia’s approach to the rise of political Islam in the context of both the Arab Spring and its campaigns to quell Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus. We investigate the literature on terrorism and political violence, together with evidence provided by international organisations about the participation of violent non-state actors in social and economic governance in MENA countries, analysing how Russia has promoted reductive narratives about the ‘fight against terrorism’ and instrumentalised the threat of transnational militant Islamism to justify its intervention in Syria. We examine how the Russian state’s campaign against those designated as terrorists in the MENA region has been shaped by internal debates over the threat to state cohesion posed by the spread of Islamism in Russia, and how that campaign has in turn affected its domestic policies. We focus on Moscow’s response to the challenge posed by Islamic State and other extremist groups in the context of the return of Russian-speaking ‘foreign fighters’ from Iraq and Syria to Russia’s Muslim regions. We consider how Russia, which identifies itself as a secular, multi-ethnic and multi-confessional country, addresses the religious aspects of its national identity, and how the increasing prominence of the Russian Orthodox Church impacts Russian approaches to domestic Islam and its policies in the Arab world more generally. Finally, we examine the challenges posed by the policies of the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, both to Russia’s relations with the Islamic world and to how Russia governs its Muslim North Caucasus regions.

in Russian strategy in the Middle East and North Africa