Economic choices (Indy)

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Neo-liberal with 'trickle down'[edit]

Neo-liberal economic thinking says that economic success is best achieved by energetic entrepreneurs acting within a loose legal framework (the "small state"). Those individuals get rich, but wealth trickles down, and the rising tide lifts all boats. Economic behaviour - the ways in which people manage money in their lives - should be determined only by market forces. Benefits are kept low so as to force people into work, taxes are low so as to incentivise entrepreneurs, and utilities are not nationalised.

Some wealthy individuals in Scotland support this view, but the Scottish public as a whole rejects it.


Socialist economic thinking says that economic success is best achieved by collective action on the part of the working population, expressed through state institutions. Through these institutions, which mitigate market forces, everybody gets a fair share of the national wealth. Benefits are high so as not to disadvantage those less capable of work, taxes are high so as to provide those benefits and to maintain state institutions, and utilities are nationalised.

There is virtually no traction for classic Socialism among the Scottish public, though there is sympathy with its egalitarian inspiration. It is, however, the only model offered by the UK as an alternative to neo-liberalism. These are the only two models on offer, and the Scottish public rejects them both.

Social-democratic ('Rhine capitalism')[edit]

Rhine capitalist economic thinking says that economic success is best achieved by market forces acting under strong state regulation, expressed through a government that has the support of an informed electorate[1]. Wealth is generated by entrepreneurs, who pay high taxes so that the state can deliver high benefits to the disadvantaged. The government makes pragmatic decisions on which utilities should be nationalised and which not.

This is the model applied successfully in a significant number of European countries - Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, France, Germany - and adopted by the SNP. It has kept the SNP continuously in government since 2007, because it is consistently supported by Scottish voters.