Crisis, Experimentation and Change: The Case of Private Equity and PTPs
The dominant role played by financial services within liberal market economies, and the 2008 economic crisis, has variously been depicted as the product of regulatory failure, 'irrational exuberance', the over-prioritization of shareholder value or as part and parcel of an epochal change in social and economic life. Current regulationist thinking suggests that recent developments represent a long period of systemic experimentation, evolution and change, which dates back to the end of the long boom in the 1970s. In this article, we introduce and discuss current regulationist thinking regarding systemic crisis, evolution and change, and follow on with a more detailed look at the diversity and varied outcomes associated with a key area of the financial services sector, private equity (PE) and public to private buy-outs of listed corporations (PTPs). We have chosen this area because of the critical importance of capital for innovation at the same time as investment horizons have generally become more short term, and the challenges that exist in reconciling these competing needs and agendas. We conclude that, as with any innovation and experiment, the outcomes of private equity are mixed. This would suggest that the emerging financial architecture that will inevitably comprise any return to growth will, in part, incorporate aspects of private equity. Indeed, to the extent that private equity buy-outs involve the acquisition of firms in distress, they may have a positive contribution to make in resolving the problems of recession and financial crisis. The failure of unsustainable experiments does not mean, however, that renewed growth will simply result through natural selection: it depends on continued innovation and experimentation across the entire economy, coupled with relevant formal and informal socio-economic regulation.
Competition and Change
Comparative Economic Systems