22 July 2015
As inequalities widen and the effects of austerity deepen, in many countries the wealth of the rich has soared. Why We Can't Afford the Rich by Andrew Sayer 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.

It shows how over the last three decades the rich worldwide have increased their ability to extract wealth, create indebtedness and expand their political influence. Written accessibly for a wide readership, the book uses simple distinctions to burst the myth of the rich as specially talented wealth creators. Furthermore, as the risk of runaway climate change grows, it shows how the rich are threatening the planet by banking on unsustainable growth. It argues that the crises of economy and climate can only be resolved by radical change to make economies sustainable, fair and conducive to well-being for all.‌

What was your favourite part of working on this project?

Escaping from some of the usual academic conventions and writing more freely in order to reach a wider readership.

What was the most surprising part of this project?

How difficult it was to stop writing in the usual academic manner, while retaining rigour. But also learning just how the rich have got away with enlarging their unearned income after the financial crisis and increasing their domination of politics.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

The return of the rich has to be reversed, for the sake of our economy, social cohesion, democracy, and the planet. Fundamental change is needed - and quickly - if we are to stop runaway climate change. I hope it persuades readers that we cannot go on as we are.

Where can people find out more?

You can visit the Policy press website, or any booksellers that, unlike Amazon, pay their tax. More about the book is also on my blog, RicherPoorer.