Financial TimesFinancial Times

In defense of democratic capitalism

By Martin Wolf

20 Jan 2023 · 10 min read

Editor's Note

Over the last decades, the marriage of liberal democracy and market capitalism has brought the world great benefits, argues FT columnist Martin Wolf. But that marriage is now under great strain.

In May 1940, as the Nazis invaded the Netherlands, my mother, then 21 years old, escaped from the country in a trawler hijacked by her father, a self-made fish merchant. Her father, one of nine, asked all his wider family to join them on the journey to England. None did: they were all slaughtered in the Holocaust.

My father, who grew up in Vienna, left in 1937, at the age of 27. He then came to England, where he was living when war broke out. He was interned as an “enemy alien” in Canada. But he returned to England in 1942 and met my mother at a “welcome back” party organised by the parents of one of her friends. His immediate family survived, too. But his wider family, all of whom lived in Poland, were also slaughtered, except for one cousin, who survived by a miracle.

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