Introduction; Part I: A Guide to Wealth Extraction; Slippery Terms and Vital Distinctions; For rent . . . for what?; Interest . . . for what? or We need to talk about usury; Profit from production: or capitalists and rentiers: what's the difference?; Other ways to skin a cat; Don't the Rich Create Jobs? - and other objections; Part II: Putting the Rich in Context: What Determines What People Get?; To what do we owe our wealth?: Our dependence on the commons; So what determines pay?; The myth of the level playing field; Part III: How the Rich Got Richer: Their Part in the Crisis; The roots of the crisis; Key winners; Summing up: the crisis and the return of the rentiers; Part IV: Rule by the Rich, for the Rich; Silent power, pol donations lattice of influence; Hiding it; Illegal? + poachers; What about philanthropy?; Plutonomy; Part V: Ill-gotten and Ill-spent: From Consumption to Ill-Being and CO2; Spending it; Global warming trumps everything; Conclusion: back to basics - what kind of economy do we need?.
Andrew Sayer is Professor of Social Theory and Political Economy at Lancaster University, UK. He has a long-standing interest in moral economy and has written several books on political economy, inequality, class, and philosophy and ethics, including Radical Political Economy: A Critique (Blackwell, 1995); The Moral Significance of Class (2005) and Why Things Matter to People: Social Science, Values and Ethical Life (2011) (both Cambridge University Press).
"A refreshing antidote to a public discourse that has allowed the perpetrators of the financial crisis to make massive gains, while the full burden of costs falls on those innocent of its causes. A must-read for all those who want to reverse that injustice and a wake-up call for the rich." Ann Pettifor, Director, Prime: Policy research in macroeconomics. "Cuts through the hype so often used to defend growing inequality and gets to the core of the problem, with suggestions about where solutions may come from." Danny Dorling, University of Oxford. "Engagingly explains how - and why - we have such trouble seeing what the rich are doing. We are the job creators, they insist. But our rich aren't creating jobs. They're not creating wealth. They're extracting wealth from the rest of us." Sam Pizzigati, Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, D.C., and editor, Too Much. "Unmatched in persuasive argument and compelling illustrations, Andrew Sayer shows how the rich and the super-rich are destroying not just the economy but the planet too. Everyone should read Why we can't afford the rich and spread the word." Michael Burawoy, University of California, Berkeley. "This timely and important book exposes the pernicious influence of the super rich on our economic and social fabric. It underlines the need for radical action to redistribute wealth, rebalance our economy and tackle inequality. A must read for politicians and policymakers alike" Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary. "Packed with useful information and insights, this is a useful complement to Thomas Pikkety's Capital in the Twenty First Century, and makes a serious challenge to the many claims propagated by rich people and their minions." Tax Justice Network "Sayer puts forth a cogent and thoroughly convincing argument that will enlighten and inform-and may even help instigate the radical changes he puts forth." Publishers Weekly "Adds to the growing body of work that challenges mainstream economic thinking and traditional self-justifications for inequality." New Left Project "Sayer does an impressive job of bringing home to the reader the scale of the threat capitalism now poses to humanity. As an introduction to critical political economy, the book is one of the best available." Counterfire