Now economic liberty is under attack and capitalism, the system which embodies it, is at bay. This week Britain, the birthplace of modern privatisation, nationalised much of its banking industry; meanwhile, amid talk of the end of the Thatcher-Reagan era, the American government has promised to put $250 billion into its banks. Other governments are re-regulating their financial systems. Asians point out that the West appears to be moving towards their more dirigiste model: “The teachers have some problems,” a Chinese leader recently said. Interventionists are in full cry: “Self-regulation is finished,” claims France’s Nicolas Sarkozy. “Laissez-faire is finished.” Not all criticisms are that unsubtle (the more pointed ones focus on increasing the state’s role only in finance), but all the signs are pointing in the same direction: a larger role for the state, and a smaller and more constrained private sector.