Our Book of the Month for August is a classic and strongly recommended by the Equality Trust.
The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better was published in 2009. Written by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, the book highlights the “pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption”. It shows that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal rich countries.
As of September 2012, the book had sold more than 150,000 copies in English. It is available in 23 foreign editions.
A collection of Powerpoint slides regarding The Spirit Level can be downloaded here.
For a small contribution, the data underpinning the findings in The Spirit Level can be obtained from here.
The actual book is available here.
Progressive Pulse’s Book of the month for July is “BREXIT: What the Hell Happens Now” by Ian Dunt. Britain’s departure from the European Union is filled with propaganda and myth but the risks are very real. Brexit could lower our global status, diminish our quality of life, and throw our legal system into turmoil.
With the help of constitutional and trade experts, Ian Dunt, editor of Politics.co.uk, explains why exiting the EU is likely to:
- make the UK poorer
- leave industries like pharmaceuticals and finance struggling to operate
- threatens to break up the United Kingdom
The book deals with the trade and legal cliff edge that Britain will face unless it can secure a transitional deal with the European Union, why the odds are stacked against the UK government in its negotiations with Brussels, and how the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is not the cure to leaving the EU that the Brexiters believe.
This is the first full public exploration of Brexit, stripped of the wishful thinking of its supporters in the media and Parliament. It is the real picture of a country about to undergo a sharp and self-inflicted isolation. This book is for people who still believe in evidence and in experts.
Our June Book of the month is Debunking Economics by Steve Keen. Debunking Economics exposes what many non-economists may have suspected and a minority of economists have long known: that economic theory is not only unpalatable, but also plain wrong. When the original Debunking was published back in 2001, the market economy seemed invincible, and conventional ‘neoclassical’ economic theory basked in the limelight. Steve Keen argued that economists deserved none of the credit for the economy’s performance, and that ‘the false confidence it has engendered in the stability of the market economy has encouraged policy-makers to dismantle some of the institutions which initially evolved to try to keep its instability within limits’. That instability exploded with the devastating financial crisis of 2007, and now haunts the global economy with the prospect of another Depression. In this radically updated and greatly expanded new edition, Keen builds on his scathing critique of conventional economic theory whilst explaining what mainstream economists cannot: why the crisis occurred, why it is proving to be intractable, and what needs to be done to end it. Essential for anyone who has ever doubted the advice or reasoning of economists, Debunking Economics provides a signpost to a better future.
Our May 2017 Book of the Month is Richard Murphy’s “Dirty Secrets”. What happens when the rich are allowed to hide their money in tax havens, and what we should do about it?
The revelations from the Panama Papers show unknown levels of secret money: how the super-rich hide their wealth from the rest of us.“Dirty Secrets” uncovers the extent of the corruption behind this crisis and exposes the failures of those in power to control this rampant greed.
Tax havens are part of the global architecture of capitalism. It is claimed that they provided the freedom from regulation that was necessary to really make markets work and so we all actually gained from them. In this sense they are the ultimate expression of neoliberalism. But this argument and that philosophy has now failed. Furthermore democracy itself is being threatened by the political fall-out from the mistrust this regime has created. The result is that tax havens are now a threat to the very system that supposedly spawned it. “Dirty Secrets” is the most revelatory examination of the crisis by a leading expert, but also offers solutions on how governments can regulate havens and what the world might look like without them.