Something is profoundly wrong with the way we think about how we should live today.
In Ill Fares The Land, Tony Judt, one of our leading historians and thinkers, reveals how we have arrived at our present dangerously confused moment. Judt masterfully crystallizes what we've all been feeling into a way to think our way into, and thus out of, our great collective dis-ease about the current state of things.
As the economic collapse of 2008 made clear, the social contract that defined postwar life in Europe and America - the guarantee of a basal level of security, stability, and fairness - is no longer guaranteed; in fact, it's no longer part of the common discourse. Judt offers the language we need to address our common needs, rejecting the nihilistic individualism of the far right and the debunked socialism of the past. To find a way forward, we must look to our not so distant past and to social democracy in action: to re-enshrining fairness over mere efficiency.
Distinctly absent from our national dialogue, social democrats believe that the state can play an enhanced role in our lives without threatening our liberties. Instead of placing blind faith in the market - as we have to our detriment for the past 30 years - social democrats entrust their fellow citizens and the state itself.
Ill Fares the Land challenges us to confront our societal ills and to shoulder responsibility for the world we live in. For hope remains. In reintroducing alternatives to the status quo, Judt reinvigorates our political conversation, providing the tools necessary to imagine a new form of governance, a new way of life.
©2010 Tony Judt (P)2010 HighBridge Company
"Remarkably compelling." (Los Angeles Times)
"Optimistic, raw, and patriotic." (The New York Times)
Read with a British accent, this book draws on historical reference and past famous economic/political works (Keynes, Von Mises, ect.) Upon reading the summary, I listened in hope that Judt would present some guidance to a workable solution to the worlds political, financial, and economic issues. Instead, it droned on stating the obvious in a unique but redoubling way. To listen would be tantamount to other political/economic books describing contemporary folly and the need for reform. Basically, we need new language and more participation. It's written in "expert English" making the restating of facts pretentious and somewhat impracticable for typical citizens. I'm not really sure what his point was, but he knows what he's talking about. The government screws us. I guess what I'm saying is the explanation/solution is just not simple enough. I'm betting can do better!
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