Capitalism and Human Values


Capitalism and Human Values
By Tony Wilkinson
Societas (from Imprint Academic) – £14.99

Now here’s a book simply packed with pertinent and perhaps valuable information; the likes of which one doesn’t stumble upon everyday. That the same cannot be said of David Cameron’s latest economic, kick-to-the-balls of latent/blatant, humbling humiliation, makes Capitalism and Human Values all the more intrinsic reading.

Intrinsic, in a world of sanctioned con-men running riot; atavistic in a horribly benign, British political climate that appears to both reward and sanction public school boys with a c(l)ause. Those contentious rebels, replete with clandestine template, out to fundamentally screw society as if a cheap sterling slut.

According to The Guardian: ”Cameron and other cabinet members have recently suggested that they would be willing to disclose their personal tax filings amid growing scrutiny following the budget, but this would only shed light on annual sources of income rather than accumulated wealth or inheritance.”

Really? Well blow me down with all the travesty of an OAP’s, pitiful melt-down allowance care of Osborne and the greed mongers. Alas, yet another c-o-o-l name for yet another Tory band of thieves methinks: Ladies and Gentlemen, please put your deluded hands together for he who really knows how to fudge the budge. There again, there’s a terrific piece on forgiveness in chapter ten (‘The Five Families’) of this altogether exemplary book, which reads: ”One very important aspect of letting go is forgiveness, both of ourselves and others. Forgiveness can be seen as letting go of anger or hatred generated by the past […]. We have already suggested that anger is seriously harmful because it precludes peace of mind […]. At some point anger or hatred must be overcome if we are to regain satisfied mind. If we cannot find a way to let go of the hurt it will quite simply remain with us. It may help to understand why the wrong was done – what did the perpetrator think they were doing and why, how did they come to think that this action was acceptable and so on.”

And so on – yes indeed; I’m sure much of the country really would like to know how Cameron came to think that (t)his most recent ”action was acceptable and so on.” Especially as earlier on in this most very readable of books, its author Tony Wilkinson writes: ”One particular aspect of reasonableness involved in assessing facts is that we need an honest assessment of what can and what cannot change in the world and our circumstances. Reason and experience suggest that our circumstances are seldom unchangeable. They will likely change whatever we do although we all hope that if we direct our efforts suitably they may change in ways that suit us and which further some of our aims (‘Conditions for a Central Goal’).

Penetrating the dark side of capitalism with all the hard earned gravitas of philosophical chutzpah, Capitalism and Human Values is a brilliantly conceived and well written book, which loiters at the very epicentre of current-day, economic turmoil.

David Marx


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