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Book review: why Britain must fight for a fairer society

Blog post from London School of Economics & Political Science
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  • Hn Social History And Conditions. Social Problems. Social Reform
  • Jn101 Great Britain
  • Economics
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science


Book Review: Why Britain must fight for a fairer society February 11, 2011 Book Review: Why Britain must fight for a fairer society Alex Moore finds some important lessons for David Cameron in Will Hutton’s book on how to save the country from social and economic ruin. Them and Us: Changing Britain – Why We Need a Fair Society. By Will Hutton. Little, Brown & Company. October 2010. Having risen to relative fame in 1995 with the surprise hit The State We’re In, Will Hutton has spent much of his time tackling the grandiose problems of global capitalism and international security. In Them and Us: Changing Britain – Why We Need a Fairer Society it’s back to business, and back to what Hutton does best: Britain is in ruin and only one man can save it. Hutton wastes no time in setting the scene. The country, he tells us, is in a ‘deep, deep sleep’ and could be facing ‘the bleakest most paranoid decade since the war’. Unemployment is high and rising; public services are being slashed; and inequality is worse than ever. Another financial meltdown and subsequent recession are inevitable unless serious social and economic reform is undertaken. Above all, Britain must become a fairer society. Those who are bearing the brunt of the current recession, Hutton argues, are not the ones responsible for its cause. Those who are responsible – the bankers – are still amongst the best paid and wealthiest members of society. An individual’s pay must become more reflective of an individual’s effort and contribution to society. This is justified by Hutton not only on philosophical grounds, but also on practical grounds: fairer societies are more successful societies. But if this book is ostensibly about fairness, one would be forgiven for thinking it is really about finance. Indeed, three whole chapters – and well over a hundred pages – are devoted entirely to criticising Britain’s banks. For Hutton, the financial

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