As predicted this time last year, mutualism is the new favourite political idea. It has been so ignored by policy makers over many decades that it has temporarily lost its left/right label and the Tories are also talking about it.
But it shouldn’t be thought that mutualism is a way of making money grow on trees. You can run money-generating operations on this model, but money-spending operations (eg most public services) require external funding. As Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber puts it:
‘There seem to be two possibilities: either the mutuals have independent sources of funding or they don’t.’
It will be interesting to see how much of the utopian mutualist talk survives the forthcoming UK general election, and how far the resulting government ends up supporting what Rudolf Bahro might have called ‘actually existing mutualism’.