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The Economics of Belonging: A Radical Plan to Win Back the Left Behind and Achieve Prosperity for All
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The Economics of Belonging: A Radical Plan to Win Back the Left Behind and Achieve Prosperity for All

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  142 ratings  ·  19 reviews
A radical new approach to economic policy that addresses the symptoms and causes of inequality in Western society today

Fueled by populism and the frustrations of the disenfranchised, the past few years have witnessed the widespread rejection of the economic and political order that Western countries built up after 1945. Political debates have turned into violent clashes be
Published June 16th 2020 by Princeton University Press
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Laurent Franckx
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
15 years ago, David Friedman argued in "The moral consequences of economic growth" that economic growth does not just generate direct benefits in terms of more goods and services, but also makes societies more tolerant and progressive (see https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... for my review of the book). More recently, economic historian Barry Eichengreen has studied the relation between economic prosperity and populism (see
Martin Sandbu also argues t
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am beginning to get a sense that observers are beginning to view the next round of elections, especially in the US, as a time when significant changes may actually occur. Politicians are loath to say such things, of course. Pundits, however, get to redraft the nature of the problems they address to fall into line with the futures they expect to face. The more one reads policy books that adopt the perspective of “OK, now you won back power from the bad guys, what do you plan to do about it?” th ...more
Athan Tolis
Oct 24, 2021 rated it liked it
I’m a fan of Martin Sandbu. Was lucky enough to ride eight stops to Bank with Hugh Dixon once (he speaks perfect Greek) and we agreed that Sandbu is currently the brightest star at the FT. His magnum opus about the Euro, Europe’s Orphan, is my favorite book in print on the topic. So my expectations were sky-high for The Economics of Belonging, much as I knew upfront that I was bound to disagree with a lot I’d read here.

It starts alright. I’ve no idea how many books have been billed as the ones t
Richard Marney
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
This is a crucial contribution to the debate around the questions of why contemporary society is so much at odds with itself, why do so many of our fellow world citizens lack so much (including hope) and how do we get out of the mess.

Send a copy to your elected representative!!!!

Post WW-II liberal democracy was built on the three pillars of political rights (individual rights, equality before the law, and free elections), the social market economy (balance of social rules permitting a shared pr
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Economics of Belonging by Martin Sandbu turned up on my radar by means of the weekly column of my favourite economic journalist, Marike Stellinga (of NRC, a Dutch Newspaper). Her appraisal of the book intrigued me, and now I know why: the book is simply fascinating. Following the Clintonian mantra 'Its the economy, stupid', Sandbu sets out on clear path from perceived problem (globalisation), actual problems (technological progress and botched policy responses) and a coherent set of policy s ...more
Ola Helmich Borchgrevink Pedersen
Apr 16, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
Precise and well-argued, based both on economic theory and empirical research, but also framed by important (and so often neglected!) historical contexts. Sandbu focuses on our society generally and the economy more specifically. Before presenting well-reasoned solutions, he spends much time analysing and describing current issues, both done in a thorough and sharp way. Although he touches upon many and often neglected themes, from inequality to trade to how to make rural regions prosper, some i ...more
Eray Kaan
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
No doubt that we need a progressive policy agenda to tackle rising inequalities, populism, and weaken the connection between money and power. But Sandbu’s agenda is so expansive as to be unserviceable. He fails to persuade the reader about the urgency of acting on its proposed policy agenda.
Far from being radical it rests on a mix of well-known, already generally accepted policy measures that do not quite add up to an original vision for the economy. Moreover, Sandbu sidesteps fundamental quest
Cormac McGann
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The first 6 chapters of this book lays out how national economic policy is a major factor in the rise of nationalism, and anti-globalist, anti-liberal movements. It identifies failings in governmental response to economic phenomena and argues that the nationalistic biases of social groups are not inherent, but economically influenced.

The second segment of the book examines a number of policy options (some novel, some well tread in western politics), that can bridge the gap between the economical
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ideas and thought in this book are great. Everything is backed up with good evidence from the global economy or specific case studies of countries or history. The author lists the arguments against his suggestions, and then goes through and argues against them/ proves them wrong.

The first part, was the best, and goes through the authors central thesis; that the political landscape is created by the economy and that the “health” of the economy is based on its levels of inequality. These are c
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great summary of the Free Lunch columns in the Financial Times, in which his enthusiasm about net wealth taxes, carbon tax and dividend and high pressure economies has been covered often enough. He groups different measures together to form a "radically centrist package".
It seems to me that for his proposals to be considered centrist, the Overton window would have to shift substantially to the left. Christian Democrats in most European countries see wealth taxes as almost communist measures (th
Aug 26, 2021 rated it liked it
The book glosses over all the economical causes and some of the solutions to Le Pen/Brexit/etcetra-style populism. Sadly enough, it doesn't go very deep into that. For example, it proposes the well-known basic income or a negative income tax, but doesn't particularly support it vigoriously like other books do. It feels like I read a summary and that I haven't learned anything new from it. So if you are already versed in the recent economical books for the general public, then you can already ski ...more
There are elements of the proposed policies necessary to build economies of belonging that come across as optimistic to the point of naïveté. However, the underlying premise that governments have within their power both the choice and the ability to structure their economy in a way that doesn’t create a permanent and immiserated underclass is sound and correct. A good read on what is possible and a kick in the pants to readers to advocate for radical change to bring everyone along on a journey t ...more
Frank O'connor
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about the causal relationship between economics and populism. That is its great strength as it is a convincing hypothesis and it consequently explains a lot of modern current affairs. Technological change is the driving force and a new class struggle is evolving from this - those on the right side of of tech and those on the wrong side. The book proposes a number of policy solutions - all appealing. There is a huge challenge, however, in translating these into workable policy at s ...more
Amund Vik
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. Recommend for anyone wanting to understand more about the value of an economic policy that creates inclusive growth.

I don’t agree with all his policy proposal, but the analysis I think is sound and a very important addition to the discussions on the economy, work and tensions in modern economies.
Aug 05, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Aunque muchos de los datos y hechos que analizan han sido expuestos en multitud de ocasiones, ofrece una visión única y soluciones que no había leído antes. Merece la pena su lectura, sobre todo para todos aquellos interesados en el tema del aumento de la desigualdad, sus causas (basadas en datos y estadísticas y no en creencias simplistas) y soluciones realistas y factibles
May 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Some amazing ideas and well researched history of the economics of our global society.
Jun 10, 2022 marked it as to-read
Shelves: economics, politics
As heard on The New Bazaar:
Douglas Cosby
Mar 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me start with the fact that I am a money guy, with a finance background and a fairly laissez faire view of how we should handle budgets and financial systems. In other words, while not perfect, I think capitalism is the best system out there. I also love analytics and game theory, and have been looking for an unemotional explanation of how our global politics got to where it is today, with Trump and Brexit and all of the other Populist movements fomenting an atmosphere of distrust and divisi ...more
Robin Kwong
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Aug 16, 2021
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