Ill Fares the Land

Ill Fares the Land
Tony Judt

There’s nothing particularly new about Tony Judt’s take on the neo-liberal dismantling of Western states over the past thirty years under the “selfish amoralism of Thatcher and Reagan” (and their descendants), but for what it’s worth he does make the case (again) for reviving social democratic policies that were the foundation of the postwar golden age of capitalism. At its heart is a moral argument with a pedigree going back to Adam Smith, and while it’s one I sympathize with I can’t help but feel that this was a battle for ideas that was lost in the 1980s . . . or maybe even the 1880s, when Smith’s Enlightenment morality melted in the light of Darwin’s rising sun.