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The Possibility of Progress [Paperback]

Mark Braund
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 14.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

31 Jan 2005
The crisis over the future direction of the European Union illustrates how conventional politics is failing to address the concerns of ordinary people. On the one hand are modernisers like Barrroso, Blair, Merkel and Sarkozy who want to introduce free-market economics to stimulate the stagnant European economy: on the other, those who resist scaling back the European social model. The scale of the problem facing the European economy was highlighted in a recent Business Week article which showed how wage rates in the French and German car industry were close to $50 an hour compared with $6 in Slovakia. As a result all new factories are being built in the low wage economies of the accession states, threatening to worsen unemployment in the old industrial heartlands of Europe. The inadequacy of the economic system is not confined to Europe: 3 billion people in the world live on less than $2 a day. Mark Braund, an economic philosopher by experience, has spent 15 years wrestling with these issues personally and professionally. The result is The Possibility of Progress in which he attempts to explain how we got into this mess, and why conventional politics is unable to get us out of it. He argues that contemporary society lacks three essential ingredients: a clear and universal moral basis for social relations; an accurate understanding of economic laws which acknowledges the consequences of inequitable land ownership; and the ambition and belief necessary to turn our aspirations for a more equitable and sustainable world into reality. He explains how the understanding of economics bequeathed us by Adam Smith, David Ricardo and others has been selectively taken up in defence of minority wealth and privilege, and argues that only when we accept the full implications of classical teaching, will there be any possibility of progress towards a more inclusive and just global society. Concluding that a democracy which promotes minority interests at the expense of the majority is clearly failing, Braund identifies a number of ideas which, were they to gain widespread popular support, could finally see the ambitions of the eighteenth century Enlightenment in Europe realised. He argues that if we are to build a more inclusive world, we must first address the underlying causes of poverty, social injustice, alienation and apathy. This process will require an inclusive approach which transcends traditional party politics. The Possibility of Progress contains the seeds of a new socio-political paradigm, combining justice with economic efficiency.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Shepheard-Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd; 1st edition (31 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085683226X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0856832260
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,317,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Braund is the author of The Possibility of Progress (2005) and co-author, with film director Ross Ashcroft, of Four Horsemen: The Survival Manual (2012), which was inspired by Ashcroft's acclaimed film, Four Horsemen.

His principal area of interest is the prospect for change towards a more inclusive and sustainable global society, in which context he finds himself continually, if reluctantly, drawn back to economics.

He has written for The Guardian and The Times Literary Supplement among other publications, and has worked in the private, public and voluntary sectors, including three years as an adviser to the government of Mozambique.

The Blueprint (2013), a political thriller set in the near future as humankind struggles to find solutions to the mounting problems of climate change, intractable poverty and growing inequality, is his first novel.

Product Description

Review

"A deeply moral and intellectual book." -- Tony Benn

"...promises to transform the way we think about politics,
economics, and the value of human life..."
-- eMediaWire, July 2005

"A deeply moral and intellectual book." -- Tony Benn

"An impressive, important and readable book ...
... should be widely read, studied and discussed." -- James Robertson, co-founder New Economics Foundation

"I cannot recommend it highly enough. It deserves to be a bestseller." -- Dave Wetzel, vice-chair, Transport for London

"I cannot recommend it highly enough. It deserves to be a
bestseller." -- Dave Wetzel, vice-chair, Transport for London

'...promises to transform the way we think about politics, economics, and the value of human life...' -- eMediaWire, July 2005

About the Author

Mark Braund, an economic philosopher by experience, has spent many years wrestling with these issues personally and professionally. He has worked in the private, public and voluntary sectors, and spent three years as an advisor to the government of Mozambique.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must read chapter 9 17 Feb 2007
Format:Paperback
Prices of over 5m for some freehold houses in central London in early 2007, indicates one truth from this book: wealth increasingly shifts to all land owners as a society develops, despite agriculture taking a lesser part in the overall economy. Braund shows how this trend has historically pitted capitalist and worker against each other as they are left with the pickings after land ownership confers the lion's share of the national wealth. In leaving land and its value out of the economic equation in modern times, politicians have failed to bring the social justice that they espouse, despite the solution having been understood for 200 years. Braund gives a modern understanding of the findings of economists David Ricardo and Henry George. In setting out to convince the reader of the justice of what he calls `A True Economics', Braund takes a secular approach to ethics but arrives at values that religious people would also concur with. The book contains a mine of useful historical information.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A masterly blueprint for progress, 7 April 2005
Format:Paperback
OK, so the world's in a mess. The rich are riding rough-shod over the poor, the poor are bickering among themselves, and a lot of people are going hungry tho the world produces more than enough to feed you, me and everyone else... So, is there an answer ? Mark Braund's masterly overview of the world's economic problems - which often involve social problems as well - shows that all is not lost. There ARE highways which, if we take them, could lead us - ALL of us - to global prosperity. The author has worked in third world countries and seen for himself the problems at ground level : he knows whereof he writes - and it shows.
This isn't always an easy book - there's an awful lot of it, for one thing. But so there must be, for him to cover the ground and prove his points. And it is stuffed full of facts - a hell of a lot I myself didn't know, for one. This is a book which taught me a lot, and which made me think, and will make you think, and think again. I can't promise you an easy read, but I can assure you of an immensely satisfying one. Go on, order it now and see what it does to your life !
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Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A masterly blueprint for progress 4 April 2005
By Hilary Evans - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
OK, so the world's in a mess. The rich are riding rough-shod over the poor, the poor are bickering among themselves, and a lot of people are going hungry tho the world produces more than enough to feed you, me and everyone else... So, is there an answer ? Mark Braund's masterly overview of the world's economic problems - which often involve social problems as well - shows that all is not lost. There ARE highways which, if we take them, could lead us - ALL of us - to global prosperity. The author has worked in third world countries and seen for himself the problems at ground level : he knows whereof he writes - and it shows.

This isn't always an easy book - there's an awful lot of it, for one thing. But so there must be, for him to cover the ground and prove his points. And it is stuffed full of facts - a hell of a lot I myself didn't know, for one. This is a book which taught me a lot, and which made me think, and will make you think, and think again. I can't promise you an easy read, but I can assure you of an immensely satisfying one. Go on, order it now and see what it does to your life !
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