On the plus side, the book is consistently argued from a communitarian perspective (creating reciprocal obligations in communities). And it makes some practical suggestions to address marginalization/ social exclusion of those less educated and at the periphery of contemporary, globalized capitalism, for example the agglomeration taxes (tax the rent on land), to reflect who benefits from the clustering of economic activities. (It is not quite clear if his defence of traditional family is based in that communitarian or in a more conservative position.) However, and putting aside the big question if it is possible to re-create those post-war communal bonds in 2019, the author loses credibility as advocate of the excluded by his snobbish name-dropping and letting the reader know at every turn how famous he and his friends are. Too bad his cousins were not as fortunate in life...How are you going to reach those that feel anxious, frustrated and resentful vis-a-vis the traditional elites? Certainly not by celebrating your elite academic status that hardly anybody can relate to...Missed opportunity.
Most reviews I read of Paul Collier’s book “The Future of Capitalism” begin my pointing out the many more authors who have recently tackled the issue. One has only to read the news to concur with the perception that things are not going well for western liberal democracies. Consequently, we are presented with many diagnosis and subsequent ideas for fixing our combined economic, social, ethical and political maladies. The debate is broad open, far from reaching anything resembling overarching consensus, and Collier’s is an important and authoritative welcomed voice. However, there’s a whiff of arrogance when he presents his non-ideological and pragmatism-based ideas as “the necessary intellectual reset for social democracy, to be embraced by the centre-left and the centre-right.” As it would be infinitely more arrogant of me to say that I don’t necessarily agree with some of his proposals, I will limit myself to suggesting you read him and decide.