John Stuart Mill once remarked that it would be better to be Socrates and unhappy than a pig and happy. In this stimulating volume of essays, Sir Samuel Brittan admits to having ‘a sneaking sympathy for the pig, so long as he can be bred to live as long as Socrates’.
It is a typical quip from the most distinguished British economics commentator of the post-1945 era. Yet he is not speaking wholly in jest. Brittan has never had any sympathy for the type of conservative economist who constantly preaches the need for discipline and belt-tightening. He wants people to enjoy