Facing the New Anxieties
A world-renowned economist's candid diagnosis of the failures of capitalism and a pragmatic and realistic vision for how we can repair it.
Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of Britain and other Western societies: thriving cities versus the provinces, the highly skilled elite versus the less educated, wealthy versus developing countries. As these divides deepen, we have lost the sense of ethical obligation to others that was crucial to the rise of post-war social democracy. So far these rifts have been answered only by the revivalist ideologies of populism and socialism, leading to the seismic upheavals of Trump, Brexit and the return of the far right in Germany. We have heard many critiques of capitalism but no one has laid out a realistic way to fix it, until now.
In a passionate and polemical book, celebrated economist Paul Collier outlines brilliantly original and ethical ways of healing these rifts - economic, social and cultural - with the cool head of pragmatism, rather than the fervour of ideological revivalism. He reveals how he has personally lived across these three divides, moving from working-class Sheffield to hyper-competitive Oxford, and working between Britain and Africa, and acknowledges some of the failings of his profession.
Drawing on his own solutions as well as ideas from some of the world's most distinguished social scientists, he shows us how to save capitalism from itself - and free ourselves from the intellectual baggage of the 20th century.
“Gripping . . . a deep exploration of the ethical institutions underlying our market society - and an impassioned argument about how to restore them ”
Jesse Norman, New Statesman, Books of the Year
“Full of good ideas for reforming post-Brexit Britain from the 'hard centre'. Collier happily slashes and burns his way through many of the cherished ideas of both the centre-Right and the centre-Left”
David Goodhart, Evening Standard, Books of the Year
“For well-to-do metropolitans, capitalism is the gift that goes on giving. For others, capitalism is not working. Paul Collier deploys passion, pragmatism and good economics in equal measure to chart an alternative to the divisions tearing apart so many western countries”
“Paul Collier's book stands out because it is pragmatic, blunt - and optimistic”