From Publishers Weekly
Investment advisor and author Lewis (A Question of Values) presents a number of prescient arguments that seek to answer the title question and others, exposing in the process alternate approaches to solving everyday economic problems. Lewis utilizes a relatively novel approach: he presents a succinct, yes-or-no economic question ("Does the profit system glorify greed?") and then analyzes rationally the arguments behind both answers. Lewis begins with an econ overview before diving into queries, looking first at reasons to believe the rich aren't necessary (they "do not share adequately," they "stand in the way of democracy") and that they are ("There cannot be too much saving if it is invested properly"). He goes on to cover topics like market depression, global free trade, inequality and government intervention; regarding the latter ("Can government protect us from the excesses of the profit system?"), he looks at both Alan Greenspan in the 1990s and Han emporer Wu-di in 100 BCE.. Lewis is skilled at boiling down arguments to their most concise, and his sharp analysis employs highly accessible prose; as such, this makes great reading for anyone interested in quickly expanding their knowledge of today's political-economic issues, though Lewis's punchy point-counterpoint approach may turn off more knowledgeable readers.
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"His ideas for helping the problems we face are radical, thought provoking and should be considered by as many people as possible." -- Lord Rothschild (Jacob)
"Are The Rich Necessary? is both a highly provocative and a highly pleasurable read." Harry Hurt, III -- The New York Times, October 21, 2007