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Stop the treadmill!

Barry Schwartz: Affluence and wellbeing, 8 March 2007

The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain since 1950 
by Avner Offer.
Oxford, 454 pp., £30, March 2006, 0 19 820853 7
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... real for more and more citizens. The Challenge of Affluence is a frontal assault on this view. Avner Offer is an economic historian who has long been concerned with figuring out what matters most to quality of life. And what the book tells us, in some 450 amply annotated pages (he seems to have read every relevant source in the social sciences), is ...

A Keen Demand for Camberwells

Rosemary Hill: Location, Location, Location, 21 March 2019

Marketable Values: Inventing the Property Market in Modern Britain 
by Desmond Fitz-Gibbon.
Chicago, 240 pp., £79, January 2019, 978 0 226 58416 4
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... fought, successfully, to maintain their monopoly over conveyancing, thereby establishing what Avner Offer has called ‘a permanent rent-charge on the value of land and buildings’. But in the balance between physical property and its intangible associations, the ‘two narratives’ Fitz-Gibbon refers to, it was the estate agents who were ...

Bendy Rulers

Glen Newey: Amartya Sen, 28 January 2010

The Idea of Justice 
by Amartya Sen.
Allen Lane, 468 pp., £25, July 2009, 978 1 84614 147 8
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... amid the reminiscence and the engaging but heteroclite reflections, any distinctive theory is on offer. The theory is buried in much other matter, but it is there. Political philosophy errs in formulating ideal principles of justice, which afford little help in resolving competing claims in our non-ideal world. In this world, the claims of justice are ...

You have £2000, I have a kidney

Glen Newey: Morals and Markets, 21 June 2012

What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets 
by Michael Sandel.
Allen Lane, 244 pp., £20, April 2012, 978 1 84614 471 4
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How Much Is Enough?: The Love of Money and the Case for the Good Life 
by Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky.
Allen Lane, 256 pp., £20, June 2012, 978 1 84614 448 6
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... lobbyists can step in just before a committee session starts; ‘concierge’ medical companies offer queue-jumping treatment to those willing to stump up the fees. Firms pay people to sport temporary tattoos of company logos on their foreheads. Inuit sell their hunters’ vouchers to vacationing gunslingers eager to blow walruses away at point-blank ...

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