This is an absorbing read for anyone with even half an interest in social justice. The answers to questions like Why is there such income disparity in our society? Why is the property market in the UK so dysfunctional? (for answers to both you just need to read Chapter 5) and other compelling questions of our time are described in laymen's terms in a highly readable account of the financial structure of the UK given by journalist, Antonia Swinson. I have long struggled with the work of land economist, Fred Harrison (most recently, The Predator Culture) and now at last I have found a straightforward explanation in terms I can really understand. The importance of land values in our tax regime has been neatly side-stepped by the prevailing orthodoxy of Neo-Classical economists. The author states that we need to "drag land back into people's consciousness as an urban resource" as the tax on land values is the only tax of any importance that does not distribute itself ie it can't be avoided. Pretty obvious really, when you think about it and why does it not happen? - vested interests. She's also pretty good on the "sick fiction of the 'housing ladder' which breeds constant discontent" and something called "preventive incantation" - ever had a so-called independent financial advisor say 'it never pays to be out of the market' - she exposes this for the shoddy piece of pyramid selling it truly is.
So why have I only given this profoundly important book (economically/politically/morally) only 4 stars. Well, an awful lot of people are going to be put off by the "God" references. She doesn't do it a lot but it does jolt you out of your grappling with the problems of mammon when she does. Also, she gets off to a very slow start. I really don't need to know about her various talks to Church groups or whatever around Scotland. But for anyone truly interested in the intractable problems of our time, she sheds new and original light on these areas.
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