Greed is Dead: Politics After Individualism
Paul Collier and John Kay, Allen Lane, £16.99
It is no big claim to say that each of us feels some need to look outwards in order to live a worthwhile life. In so many aspects of our lives – as members of a family, a faith, a club, a community or a nation – we only fully realize ourselves by becoming part of something bigger than ourselves. Clichés are clichés because they are true: we are social beings.
So how is it that in the past few decades we seem to have become so downright selfish? Whatever collectivist instincts we might have seemed to possess have been subsumed in an age of individualism.
The usual off-the-shelf explanation for this is the legacy of the Reagan/Thatcher revolutions of the early 1980s, which aimed to destroy the idea that we have any obligation to anyone but ourselves, breeding a generation inclined more towards ‘me’ than ‘we’.