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4.7 out of 5 stars
27
4.7 out of 5 stars


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on 25 June 2012
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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on 1 November 2011
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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on 10 August 2012
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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on 21 November 2011
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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on 28 May 2013
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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on 22 May 2013
Depressingly accurate view of the current economic situation. Lots of facts and figures to back up the view that high income inequality is not only morally wrong but also bad for the UK and world financial stability. In work benefits cannot make up for the fact that productivity and wage growth have lost touch with each other, and impoverishing your consumer base will lead to economic stagnation.
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on 7 February 2013
This book has put into words exactly what is wrong with our country today. It explains why we are a deeply unjust society and why unless we get a government with the will to roll back inequality things will only get worse. It should be required reading for every MP regardless of party.
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on 15 February 2013
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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on 15 January 2015
If you want to know what has happened to our society then this A book everybody should read to be informed of what has happened in the last 60 years of economic development, for us to end up in the financial mess of " free market economics" where, ethics,morality and social conscience has been dumped into a dustbin of greed, criminality and financial terrorism and guess what? The people who caused it have got away with it. Nobody has been prosecuted and jailed. Nothing has really changed.
Prepare for an even bigger crash. A MUST READ.
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on 1 February 2015
I found this book to be fairly easy reading, requiring little prior knowledge. The first half of the book provides a useful account of the changes in prevailing economic thought and policy over the last century and the rise of income inequality. I thought this was by far the stronger part of the book.

I found it interesting to learn about the change in the wage share and the effect this could have on the economy. However I am unconvinced by his views on tightening regulations and rising the minimum wage and remain a believer in low-restricted free markets. I found some of his discussions/ arguments to be to be very one-sided, and found he ignored obvious oppositions to his views. In particular I found Lansley's generalisations of private equity companies and hedge funds to be unfair and misleading. Nonetheless I found it interesting to hear the views of the opposing side of this argument. I was slightly disappointed that there was only one chapter with quite a brief outline of the reforms he would suggest, after such heavy criticism of the current system.
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