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Why we can't afford the rich by [Sayer, Andrew]
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Why we can't afford the rich Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Length: 447 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


“Thought-provoking . . . a persuasive examination of the rich, the sources of their wealth, and their impact on the planet and its less fortunate inhabitants. . . . A cogent and thoroughly convincing argument that will enlighten and inform—and may even help instigate the radical changes Sayer puts forth.”
(Publishers Weekly)

“Those who own and run the United Kingdom’s privatized or semi-privatized services make stupendous fortunes by investing little and charging much. In Russia and India, oligarchs acquired state assets through firesales. In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all landline and mobile phone services and soon became the world’s richest man. Financialization, as Sayer notes in Why We Can’t Afford the Rich, has had a similar impact. . . . As the poor become poorer and the rich become richer, the rich acquire increasing control over another crucial asset: money. Interest payments, overwhelmingly, are a transfer of money from the poor to the rich. As property prices and the withdrawal of state funding load people with debt (think of the switch from student grants to student loans), the banks and their executives clean up. Sayer argues that the past four decades have been characterized by a transfer of wealth not only from the poor to the rich, but within the ranks of the wealthy: from those who make their money by producing new goods or services to those who make their money by controlling existing assets and harvesting rent, interest, or capital gains. Earned income has been supplanted by unearned income.”
(George Monbiot Guardian)

“Substantial. . . . Sayer proceeds very systematically with arguments that may be disliked but which are internally coherent, and with facts that are excessively selective at times but not dubious in themselves. Most important, Sayer does not invent economic mechanisms in the way that populists often do, never forgetting that cake-making must come before cake-distribution, even while rejecting each version of the argument that redistribution inhibits growth.”
(Edward N. Luttwak Times Literary Supplement)

“Talking about unfairness, savvy egalitarians have always understood, only gets us so far. Count British social scientist Sayer among these savvy egalitarians. . . .  Why We Can’t Afford the Rich takes on—and demolishes—the old canards that apologists for grand fortune regularly trot, everything from ‘When did you last get a job from a poor person?’ to ‘You can’t make the poor rich by making the rich poor.’”
(Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality)

“The value of Sayer’s account lies in his readable and persuasive attack on the idea that the very richest have accumulated their wealth fairly and deserve to be allowed to accumulate more.”
(LSE Review of Books)

“An excellent book. . . . As Sayer insists . . . , it’s not about envying the rich. That’s trivial and petty. It’s about rising above the sort of society that rewards a tiny fraction of people with sums of money that nobody could possibly hope to spend. Future generations will remember two types of politician. Those who built careers by surrendering to the wealthy one percent, and those who spoke out and took a stand. What should a truly responsible politician do?”
(National (Scotland))

“Although he draws heavily on the work of others, Sayer offers new insights, in the process granting today’s capitalist class—along with the mainstream political parties—very little merit at all. Why We Can’t Afford the Rich adds to the growing body of work that challenges mainstream economic thinking and traditional self-justifications for inequality.  It provides an extended catalogue of the multiple and often complex devices used by those with financial and economic power to grab a bigger share of the cake, manipulating the control of assets like land and money, to ‘siphon off wealth that others produce.’”
(Stewart Lansley New Left Project)

“Sayer shows how financial markets came to overshadow the traditional industrial economy, exacerbating the depth of the economic crisis and increasing the share of the rich in national wealth in the process. . . . Sayer’s penetrating analysis of asset-based unearned income is a powerful case for socialism, supporting as he does land nationalization and the creation of banks with the remit to lend for productive investment in ethical and environmentally sustainable business. Well worth a read.”
(John Moore Morning Star)

“Bursting with . . . jaw-dropping data, leaving the reader reeling in disbelief and indignation that the global elite ha[s] amassed such obscene fortunes and shows no sign of slowing down in its insatiable appetite for financial and material excess. The author goes beyond the headline-grabbing examples of super-rich extravagance, however, to construct an incisive analysis of the origins and development of capitalist greed. Anybody looking for an understandable but insightful introduction to political economy need look no further.”
(Sean Ledwith Counterfire (UK))

“An excellent critique of capitalism as well as a critique of the rich. . . . Presents a nuanced, well-informed vision, which speaks from the perspective of a moral economy. . . . I recommend this book to politicians, people interested in social change, NGOs, academics, and all those people, whether they belong to the 99% or the 1%, who have an inclination to come to a critical understanding of the status quo, and who wish to contribute to a world that sustains us, that is more economically and socially just, and that is ready to receive future generations.”
(Nicolina Montesano Montessori Marx & Philosophy Review of Books)

About the Author

Andrew Sayer is professor of social theory and political economy at Lancaster University, UK. His books include Radical Political Economy: A Critique, The Moral Significance of Class, and Why Things Matter to People: Social Science, Values and Ethical Life.

Product details

  • File Size: 4157 KB
  • Print Length: 447 pages
  • Publisher: Policy Press; 1 edition (November 25, 2014)
  • Publication Date: November 25, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #772,302 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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