We are today in a similar situation as in the mid-19th century. The liberalism had established itself as the leading economic thinking. Unemployment was extremely high, the economy was in a deep recession and the distance between rich and poor was ultralarge and continued to increase.
Klaus Schwab, the founder of the renowned World Economic Forum, where 1,600 top managers and 40 heads of state participated in 2012 in Davos, Switzerland, stated on the eve of the conference that capitalism in its existing state is no longer the economic model that is able to solve the global issues. Schwab asked for a new spirit of global social responsibility. His statements are noteworthy, since Schwab is a market economy expert and anything but an opponent of capitalism. In the same direction argues some of the prestigious institutions like the International Monetary Fond (IWF).
Then and now there have been not only economic, technological, institutional and political barriers which hindered an economic upswing, there exist also purely human barriers, and they consist of the social disorder which show themselves especially as lack of rights, exploitation of workers and extreme inequality.
Could it be possible that the highest barrier today is also a human one? Is social disorder not the consequence of human deficits as: deception, corruption, violence, human trafficking, exploitation of workers and nature, misuse of power, rising inequality, irresponsible speculations, destruction of the environment?
In its current form the neoliberalism does not ask for a special moral behavior from the market participants. Nevertheless it is not a moral free space. The neoliberal economy functions best when the social order is intact. The Scandinavian countries belong to the most successful economies because they have the lowest social disorder.
In the second half of the 19th century the market economy got a social face. This was possible by changing the frame conditions of the market economy. And today? Is it not the challenge of our time to integrate a better social order in the market economy? A really groundbreaking challenge!