“The old is dying and the new cannot be born,” the Italian Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci wrote in the early 20th century.
We seem to be living in a similar interregnum today, likewise marked by “a great variety of morbid symptoms,” including, not least, the breakdown of global supply chains and the return of inflation. The only way forward is to support the development of new markets, industries, and institutions. But who will finance this effort?
In good times, characterized by rapid growth and fat margins, commercial banks and private markets could help emerging and efficient firms raise enough capital to acquire and restructure their inefficient and failing counterparts and create new supply chains. But tighter financial regulation after the 2008 global financial crisis, together with a prolonged period of low interest rates, has made mainstream financial institutions more cautious. They now prefer lower risks and shorter time horizons.