Friday, February 19, 2016

Review of Danny Dorling's "Inequality and the 1%'

A very good, passionate but closely argued book about inequality with a focus on Britain. As another reviewer has written, the anger comes through, but so does the unassailable empirical evidence. Well organised and unarguable...though a short pamphlet-style one like some of his other books would be great too. It's a sign of how dominant the neo-liberal ideology is that I found myself wondering whether the fact that 1% have so much has anything to do with why others have so little...can it be as simple as that? Yes, it can.

Also worth noting that I found it hard to read, not because there's anything hard about the writing but because it made me so angry and miserable, because so powerless. I was strongly tempted to give up, which provides some insight into why so many people would rather read trash about celebs than engage with reality and power.

There are those (like Thomas Piketty?) who argue that this kind of capitalism is flawed and unsustainable, and that it contains the seeds of its own self-destruction. I am not sure about this. As James Meek writes in the LRB, one reason why we don't spend more time angry about the hyper-rich is that they already seem to exist in a different reality from the rest of us - it's easier to be angry about the 'benefit scrounger' next door.

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