Titmuss Regained by John Mortimer - review by David Sexton

David Sexton

Grand Old Snobbery of the Left

Titmuss Regained


Viking 281pp £13.99 order from our bookshop

Positional goods are goods in limited supply, goods to which access is determined not by wealth alone but by position.

If people want more washing machines and they have enough money, more washing machines can be made. But positional goods are the goods they’ve stopped making, such as time and space and Georgian houses.

Since money can’t create more of them, it doesn’t matter how much they cost, or that society as a whole should be rich or poor. All that matters is that a person should have better access to them than other people in that society.

Positional goods are the only sort of goods that John Mortimer truly covets. He doesn’t care a bit for what many care for, the things that can be manufactured: washing machines, cars, videos, washing powder, lager, and double glazing.

What he cares for is unspoiled countryside, and sleepy riverside towns with

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