Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt (2010)
The title comes from a quote that also appears on the book jacket:
Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.
— Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village, 1770
Please use the title link to Goodreads to see the jacket flap copy that offers a good summary of the book. Also note, the author has a PhD. in history from Cambridge (England).
This is an EXCELLENT book. A must read as you will probably be able to tell because I have felt compelled to quote from it so extensively. The author makes my beliefs and thoughts plain with his writing.
He begins on a dismal note, and the terror of the U.S. presidential election of 2016 was not yet known. Is not yet known to me, but I have lost all hope with the cheating of Hillary Clinton and her minions that stole the primary from a better man all for her own ambition.
Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose. We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth. We no longer ask of a judicial ruling or a legislative act: is it good? Is it fair? Is it right? Will it help bring about a better society or a better world? Those used to be the political questions, even if they invited no easy answers. We must learn once again to pose them.
The materialistic and selfish quality of contemporary life is not inherent in the human condition. Much of what appears “natural” today dates from the 1980s: the obsession with wealth creation, the cult of privatization and the private sector, the growing disparities of rich and poor. And above all, the rhetoric which accompanies these: uncritical admiration for unfettered markets, disdain for the public sector, the delusion of endless growth.
We cannot go on living like this. The little crash of 2008 was a reminder that unregulated capitalism is its own worst enemy: sooner or later it must fall prey to its own excesses and turn again to the state for rescue. But if we do no more than pick up the pieces and carry on as before, we can look forward to greater upheavals in years to come. (pp. 1-2)