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Why We Can't Afford the Rich

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  102 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Even as inequalities widen, the effects of austerity deepen, and the consequences of recession linger, in many countries the wealth of the rich has soared. Why We Can’t Afford the Rich exposes the unjust and dysfunctional mechanisms that allow the top 1% to siphon off wealth produced by others through the control of property and money. Leading social scientist Andrew Sayer sho ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published April 15th 2015 by Policy Press (first published November 6th 2014)
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Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Although the author of this book makes it clear at one point that he is not a Marxist, I think it could be argued (and I’m going to argue just that) that he explains most of the problems faced by capitalism as coming from what Marx identified as his theory of surplus value. And so I’m going to start by giving a thumbnail of that and then working out from there.

You could say that Marx was mostly interested in trying to understand where profit came from, and he spends a large part of t
Athene Wherrett
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very good introduction to everything that is wrong with our economy and the world. Since reading this book I've existed in a state of semi-permanent outrage. Just ask my friends!
Kate Hinds
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a tub thumping read. It provided some good ways of evaluating policies concerning tax policy in that it distinguishes productive contributions to society and those among us that get rich by extracting wealth, the so called rentiers. So the recent Tory policies around inheritance tax supports a society that collaborates with rentiers, in that it enables the children of the wealthy to inherit their income rather than earn it. It give some arguments to understand why the Tory party is the ...more
Rahul  Adusumilli
A soft 4, not as slick as the criticisms of the status quo that come out of America. If art is about making you feel sympathetic for people who are unlike you, this book might be called art. I've seen the future and in it people will be holding placards and shouting slogans at people entering and exiting airports. Donald was right when he misrepresented the green new deal as an attack on flights and cows. He was ironically for once ahead of the curve. Can you imagine giving up on travel and meat ...more
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Many good points but so much false logic, and so many poor examples that by the time you've reached the 20% mark, you no longer care what he has to say. I still finished it, but it needs some serious editing.

At one point, for example, to counter the neoliberal defence of paying interest on loans, he gives the example of a family taking out a loan to purchase Christmas gifts for their children.
His argument being that to combat their shame and their children's lack of worth, the paren
Sachin Patel
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Has turned me into a socialist though.
Marc Pressley
Sayer provides a decent read with a lot of things to think about. There are many good points throughout the book linking consumption, inequality, and the impact that the new financial-product economy has had on society. It was more geared toward Great Britain than the U.S., and it's more of a critical look at what's wrong and less a blueprint for how to fix the inequities of the system. The depressing point being, I guess, that the ones making the most money have no real incentive to change thei ...more
Tom O'Connor
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant book. The level of research by Prof Sayer is immense. His excellent command of ideas fro economics, sociology, philosophy and psychology is astounding. He interrogated every point. His findings are incontrovertible: the increased leeching on the productive economy by those extracting unearned income is unsustainable. Continuous economic growth is unsustainable also. New post-growth values and policies are needed with a greater focus on co-operation and sharing rather than pro ...more
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is great in the beginning. Then it goes downhill talking too much about politicians. I cannot stand this kind of talk. The second half of the book written like a giant rant. Too much emotions, too little information. Conclusion has advices that far away from how people think and act. People are too greedy and too-short sighted for whatever author proposes as solutions to the problems of the rich. I hoped that book provides some insight how we can fix this. But there is no hope left aft ...more
Хелена Поповић
Jan 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
Common Sense. Boring.
John Newton
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Andrew Sayer’s book is a relentless, multi-sided attack on the fabulously rich people in our society and their neoliberal political supporters. Although I know little about Economics, I came away thinking the attack is justified. I have believed that for some time we westerners live not in a democracy but a plutocracy and this book only gave more substance to my fears. Sayer is an engaging author and his work is copiously footnoted. My only disappointments came towards the end of the book, where ...more
Jan 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: globalisation, ipe
Interesting book if you're looking for an overview of the current state of the economy and why we're in the state that we're in. There wasn't anything in the book that I hadn't read elsewhere before so the book didn't offer any fresh perspective for me. However, I would, as i mentioned at the outset, recommend this book as a starting point. The author confesses at the start that he picks the best parts of economic thinking, so there is some Marx and Keynes scattered throughout the book, but the ...more
Richard McMahon
May 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book starts out well, with a reasoned critique of the system which has allowed a tiny percent of the world's population to amass most of its wealth. However, when offering solutions it slips into discredited socialist solutions, most of which have already failed. Most radical, the author calls for the elimination of the payment of interest, pointing out it is already forbidden by Sharia law (a fine example!). What lending agency will give me a mortgage on my home if they can't collect inter ...more
Mar 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads. Basically this is a book evaluating the economic justifications of the rich in today's society. Not a bedside read for sure, but it is thought-provoking. Why are the rich here? Do the rich have a place in society? Some of it was a bit over my head and I didn't read it from cover to cover and while I may not agree with everything Sayer says, he does raise reasonable questions about the inequality of wealth in society.
Trish McLellan
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
I agree with Andrew Sayer that we can't afford the rich people in this world. They "steal" from the poorer people in society and money rushes up to those who already have more than they need. The author also comes with some suggestions for changes in our society. The one that I think would be useful to start working on is making all employees shareholders in the company they work for and not allowing non-employees a share in the profits of the company.
Matthew Wilson
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 08, 2015 rated it liked it
This was more pure political economy than I realized it was going to be. Just fair warning to those who might not have a grasp on that lingo and the data breakdowns presented.

I enjoyed it though and it was nice to see the hard breakdowns of something that is a fairly "well, duh of course" topic that gets skimmed over and outright lied about by those looking to protect their own interests.
José María
Jun 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Empieza bien, pero se va desinflando. Conviene leerlo, de todas formas. La primera parte, sobre la extracción de rentas, es fantástica.
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Sara Larijani
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Dr Howard Davis
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Rachel Owen
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Nov 24, 2018
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Murat Gundog
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Bruce Bonner
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