New Internationalist

The World We’re In

Issue 348

If press reports are to be believed, the majority of Americans genuinely do not understand why criticism of their country is growing in every corner of the globe. If they listened they would hear a myriad of voices protesting against unrelenting American imperialism. Now, one of Britain’s most respected political thinkers, Will Hutton, has joined the fray with The World We’re In, a follow-up to his influential critique of Thatcherism, The State We’re In. What sets Hutton’s book apart from countless others that have argued against Uncle Sam is its exploration of how the rise of American conservatism since the 1960s has given birth to an unequal financial management system that enslaves the world. Hutton demonstrates not only how American ‘feral capitalism’ has produced unsustainable levels of domestic inequality, but also how it exports economic and social disintegration through global financial markets. This description of how extreme capitalism works makes for a captivating read and sets the stage for Hutton’s main argument: that Europe must stop mimicking America and instead find a way of strengthening its tradition of socially responsible capitalism. Although focused almost exclusively on North America and Europe, it’s of interest to anyone who wonders just how the world’s only superpower can be peacefully reined in. My only major criticism is Hutton’s tendency to assume that if left to its own devices Europe would naturally develop a more caring form of capitalism. Although there is evidence that European political and business leaders are increasingly aware that current trends in global inequality are not sustainable, Europe will still need a lot of pushing – from within and without its borders – to realize what Hutton sees as its potential as a force for worldwide equity.

Erin Gill

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