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The Cost of Inequality Paperback – 23 Feb 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Gibson Square Books Ltd; Paperback edition (23 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908096292
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908096296
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'A great book - read it!' Richard Wilkinson, co-author of The Spirit Level --1

'Compelling... urgent.' --Times Higher Education Supplement

'Seminal.' Neal Lawson, --Guardian Comment

About the Author

Stewart Lansley is a research fellow at the University of Bristol. He is the author of Poor Britain (with Joanna Mack), Rich Britain and a biography of Philip Green. He has written on wealth and poverty for academic and specialist journals as well as the Guardian, Independent and Sunday Times, and has held previous academic posts at the Universities of Reading and Brunel. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mr R A Forde on 25 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We have all heard the arguments about how fair/unfair the tax system is. Lansley doesn't go there. Wisely, in my opinion, because most of us have already got fixed ideas about that.

The strength of his book is that it takes a new angle, namely, that inequality stops a free enterprise system from working properly. His target is workability, not morality. He then shows that it isn't new. The same arguments were being made years ago, and it was only when they were heeded that the recovery from previous great depressions began. Lansley doesn't rely on rhetoric, however: he presents plenty of cogently-argued evidence that the same conditions which produced the Great Depression of the 1930s were also visible in the 2000s. What's more, many people saw it and warned what was to come. The politicians put their hands over their ears and refused to listen, like an over-excited child who's been told it's bedtime.

The fact is that if too much wealth is held by the super-rich, they don't do anything productive with it. No one can spend that much on consumables, so they spend it on pushing up the value of van Goghs and on financial speculation. That accumulates even more money, but it doesn't produce anything. The squeeze is on the rest of us. This argument is very similar to that of the Patriotic Millionaires in the USA, who argue that they should be taxed more in order to leave less well-off people more free cash. What creates jobs and new businesses is ordinary people having money to spend. That's what creates demand, and without demand there can be no growth. It remains to be seen whether "quantitative easing" will make any difference, but my hunch is it won't, because the money goes where the money already is, not into demand.

Sounds simple? It is. Everyone should read this book.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By T. P. Bermingham on 1 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a must read book. Beautifully written, the author has made economics enjoyable and easy to understand. The book demonstrates that excessive profits over wages and vice-versa will result in an imbalance in the fragile working of the western economic model and lead to the dire consequences of the 1930s, the 1970s and more recently since 2007. The book has many examples of how the greedy 1% seek to invest in high risk financial instruments, despite their wealth generating the highly volatile speculation which the City of London facilitates to the detriment of the other 99%. Whether you agree of disagree with the arguments in this book, it is a great read and highly recommended to anybody who is at all interested in the current state of world economics.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. C. J. Mackay on 10 Aug. 2012
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This book isn't as 'high brow' as I had feared and explains quite clearly how and why the economy is up and down like a yoyo. It also paints a very grim picture of the greed of those at the top - and the outcome of this greed on those at the bottom. That those with so much can still want so much more is very sad, especially when to get it the ordinary working person is sacrificed. I now understand what hostile take-overs are and why jobs are 'shed' in the name of profit. This book won't make me an economist, but I now have a better grasp of what goes on in the world of big business.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Colin on 21 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
A superb review of the power and importance of money in the world today.
As someone curious, but almost totally ignorant of the factors involved, it has given me real understanding of the current global economic crisis.
Credible measures to try to tackle the crisis are suggested.
A compusory read for all thinking people.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Craig B Orchard on 15 Feb. 2013
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This book is one of the first I've read on economics that seems to make real sense. The author has a clear understanding of the issues facing capitalist societies. The simple fact that having large amounts of wealth siphoned from the economy by being held by the few means that the rest haven't got as much money to consume. The result of this is that consumer societies like our own just can't function properly. Stewart's message really does need to start getting to a wider audience and when I say a wider audience I mean those who are supposed to be running our country!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael George Redhead on 28 May 2013
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A well presented argument that brings together, analyses and explains many strategies and situations about which, I, for one, have been concerned for many years. The book is worrying inasmuch that it demonstrates how power and greed conspire to ignore the indications of a bleak future and also, with misguided political connivance, how these traits have catapulted what should be a service industry to the position of the major player. Unfortunately, this player is parasitic and has all but killed off the real economy.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on 2 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
This excellent book looks at how huge and growing inequality affects Britain's economy. It complements Richard Wilkinson's splendid The spirit level, which looks at inequality's moral and social effects.

Since 1980, Britain has had three recessions, 1980-81, 1990-91 and 2008-09, in which output fell by 4.7 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 6.4 per cent.

These crises resulted from worsening relations between the classes: Thatcher's attack on the working class cut wages, causing a fall in demand. Inequality is not the cause of the crisis: it is an effect of the current state of the class struggle.

As two IMF economists, Michael Kumhof and Romain Rancière, wrote, "The crisis is the ultimate result, after a period of decades, of a shock to the relative bargaining powers over income of two groups of households, investors who account for 5 per cent of the population, and whose bargaining power increases, and workers who account for 95 per cent of the population (and whose bargaining power has fallen)."

The ruling class, primarily its financial component, loot the productive economy. We, the vast majority, suffer a slump. Since 2005, our living standards have fallen every year. The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that our real take-home pay will keep falling till 2016 at least.

Thatcher's hero Milton Friedman said in 1980 that Britain's industry should be allowed to fall to bits. Financial services would fill the gap. Thatcher embraced this view and enforced it. Labour followed Thatcher.

Thatcher removed lending controls, enabling the growth of credit card companies, loan companies and building societies turned banks. But between 1979 and 2009, financial services generated only 140,000 new jobs.
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