John Kampfner is one of the UK's most respected and iconoclastic authors, broadcasters and commentators, and has been a well-known public voice on politics, international affairs and civil liberties for the past two decades. From 2005 to 2008 he was Editor of the New Statesman, and he contributes regularly to the Guardian, Independent, Financial Times and other newspapers. His previous books include Freedom for Sale and the bestselling Blair's Wars. He lives in London.
From the Orwell Prize shortlisted author of Freedom for Sale, The Rich is the fascinating history of how economic elites from ancient Egypt to the present day have gained and spent their money. Starting with the Romans and Ancient Egypt and culminating with the oligarchies of modern Russia and China, it compares and contrasts the rich and powerful down the ages and around the world. What unites them? Have the same instincts of entrepreneurship, ambition, vanity, greed and philanthropy applied throughout? As contemporary politicians, economists and the public wrestle with the inequities of our time - the parallel world inhabited by the ultra-wealthy at a time of broader hardship - it is salutary to look to history for explanations. This book synthesises thousands of years of human behaviour and asks the question: is the development of the globalised super-rich over the past twenty years anything new?
Why do so many people around the world appear willing to give up freedoms in return for security or prosperity? For the past 60 years it had been assumed that capitalism was intertwined with liberal democracy. But what happens when both are undermined? Governments globally have drawn up a new pact with their peoples: repression is confined to the few who openly challenge the status quo. The rest of the population can enjoy freedom to live more or less as they wish, and to make and spend their money. This is the difference between public freedoms and private freedoms. We choose different freedoms we are prepared to cede. We all do it. Freedom for Sale will set a new agenda. It will crucially ask why so many intelligent and ambitious citizens around the world seemed prepared to sacrifice freedom of the press and freedom of speech in their quest for wealth.
Democratic liberalism v. authoritarianism the ideological divide that defined the twentieth century. But when the cold war ended, ';the end of history' was proclaimed. Soon the fire of freedom would burn worldwide, the experts said. And where markets were freed, human rights would inevitably follow. Or not. In the last twenty years, nations including India, Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates have disproved the idea that capitalism and democracy are inextricably linked. Emerging middle classes have proven themselves all too willing to sacrifice certain democratic rights including free speech, an open media, and free elections in exchange for prosperity. But they are not alone. We are all doing it. Alarmingly, Western democracy has adopted some of the attributes of that authoritarianism. Combining boots on the ground reporting with incisive analysis, award-winning journalist John Kampfner describes this alarming trend one which has only been exacerbated by the global economic meltdown and what citizens must do to counter it.
No Prime Minister in modern times has led Britain into as many wars as Tony Blair. In seven years in office he has committed soldiers to action in Kosovo, in Operation Desert Fox against Iraq, in Sierra Leone and Afghanistan -- and, most controversially, in the final battle with Saddam Hussein in 2003. It has been a dramatic course of action for a man who, until he won the 1997 General Election, showed only a rudimentary understanding of the workings of foreign policy. Combining page-turning narrative and revelation with an analysis of the philosophy underlying his adventures abroad, BLAIR'S WARS shows how this government has sought to be at the forefront of a new and turbulent world order. Putting the reader into the 'smoke-filled rooms' of Whitehall and Washington where the real decision-making takes place, John Kampfner draws on his unparalleled contacts within and outside government to provide a compelling account of the tensions, rivalries, deal-making and back-stabbing that have accompanied inexorable acquisition of foreign-policy control.