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Customer Review

15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wide-ranging review of the likely impact of the 1950/60s baby boom on 21st century Britain, 30 May 2010
This review is from: The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children's Future - And How They Can Give it Back (Hardcover)
An excellent read for anyone interested in getting behind shallow press coverage and political rhetoric on social issues, and into the detail of how best to run the country in the interests of all its inhabitants.

David Willetts has a reputation as a thinker, as well as a politician. The book looks at the impact of the baby boom on modern Britain, and the challenges we face as this group move into retirement. The book is heavy on analysis and light on conclusions, and is all the better for that.

He resists anecdotes and popular myths, and concentrates on the numbers. For example he stresses that in Britain property tends to be bought and sold as needed, and not passed down through the generations. Importantly this is not a new trend - 87% of land transactions were between unrelated people back in 1400, and this is very different from other countries and cultures. He highlights that what will stop a habitual 20 year old criminal is not prison, but for him to get a job and a steady girlfriend. And what do Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Congo and Somalia have in common? All these global trouble-spots have a median age under 20, compared to the world median of 29 and UK one of 39.

What has this got to do with the baby boom? You need to read the book to find out, but what he sets out to demonstrate is that a country's cultural traditions and population profile have a huge effect on the wellbeing of its citizens. The political solutions to Britain's problems over the next few decades will need to take both into account if they are going to succeed.

Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in politics, and in particular social policy, but also a fascinating book for the general reader.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Jul 2011 12:39:31 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 Jul 2011 12:40:12 BDT
Response to Richard Murphy:

You say "He resists anecdotes and popular myths": but he says things like "the boomers increasingly came to think of their house as ... their own personal goldmine"; "however, we [the author is a baby-boomer] thought we were richer and ... we all became alchemists, converting paper increases in the value of our homes into extra money to spend". (Etc).

Perhaps he and some others did that, but many of us didn't. These are little more than anecdotes, and he does not provide numbers to show how applicable those statements are to his (arbitrarily defined) "baby boom" cohort. 1% of us? 99% of us?

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Apr 2012 03:20:12 BDT
Does this science minister believe in alchemy ... judging by his actions I think he does.
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