Monday 7 June 2010

The little green book

A quick word about the book with the green cover advertised on the right hand side of this blog. If you're wondering what it's about and why you should read it, this article in Spiked gives a brief overview.

A ‘theory of everything’ that explains nothing

The author of The Spirit Level Delusion explains why Britain’s chattering classes were so wrong to embrace The Spirit Level and its argument that all of society’s problems are caused by inequality...

Read the rest here

A number of bloggers have now read and reviewed the book, including the Devil's Kitchen:

As with Velvet Fist, Iron Glove, the entire volume is well-researched, very readable (I whizzed through it in one sitting) and utterly comprehensive in its demolition of The Spirit Level's data and conclusions.

...The Spirit Level
's pseudo-scientific rhetoric appears to have convinced those at high level in our society—including our idiot Prime Minister—that reducing inequality is not simply a necessary evil, but an important moral crusade.

You need The Spirit Level Delusion because our leaders are in the grip of The Spirit Level's delusion.

As DK's reference to "pseudo-scientific rhetoric" suggests, part of this little green book is about the misuse of statistics for political ends (one of my favourite topics, as readers will know). Those political ends can be broadly described as anti-capitalist with strong undertones of what Daniel Ben-Ami calls 'growth scepticism'. 

All of which would be of little significance had this pseudo-science not convinced a number of politicians and opinion-formers—who should really know better—that the case for bigger government is not a mere ideological preference but a scientifically proven imperative.

And that's why I think it's important. As the review at An Englishman's Castle says:

We are going to hear a lot more about how limiting growth and reducing inequality will make everyone happier and how we must legislate to make this happen. You need the evidence to show it is guff, you need this book.

The Spirit Level Delusion has also recently been mentioned by Rob Fisher, Vladimir and Stuart Austin and Tim Worstall

If any of that whets your appetite, you can get a copy here (UK) or here (worldwide).

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