What is it about American ideas that Britain, and New Labour Britain in particular, finds so seductive? Oh, I know how fertile their think-tank culture is and how persuasive US advocates of bold ideas can be. Across the Atlantic, salesmanship is part of success - let's hear it for Bernard Madoff.
But the United States is big enough, diverse enough and decentralised enough to allow itself a bit of social experimentation here and there. You could even argue that the US does it so that our more cautious and less ruthless societies do not have to. Yet still we in the old world are seduced.
And invariably we get it wrong. We fail to take into account the great differences between their culture and ours. We mis-time our borrowing, enthusing even as the unintended consequences have begun to multiply. Or we pick and choose different bits, when the secret is that the whole thing works as a package or not at all. Mainly, though, we just adopt the wrong ideas.
Continue reading at the Independent.