Leo McKinstry

The Wealth of the Nation

Rich is Beautiful: A Very Personal Defence of Mass Affluence


Social Affairs Unit 311pp £20 order from our bookshop

Suspicion of capitalism is woven into the fabric of the modern British media. This negative, carping instinct shines through consumer programmes like Watchdog on BBC One or You and Yours on Radio 4, which constantly attack big business but refrain from any criticism of the much less efficient, more expensive public sector. I recently watched an astonishing – but all too typical – item on BBC Two’s Newsnight, about the rise of the free market in China. The reporter interviewed a range of players, from a rich entrepreneur to a lowly waitress, who all testified to the greater freedom and improved living standards brought about by economic liberalisation. Yet, like some Maoist ideologue trapped in the mindset of the 1960s, Newsnight’s reporter chose to harp on about the dangers of rising inequality in the new China.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Tarantino's latest film is 'a fairy tale about Hollywood, where fantasy is an industrial product and the boulevards… ,
    • 'I don’t think we’re here on Earth to be Happy. I think we’re here on Earth to help God. I am a messianic writer'.… ,
    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,