Written with typical passion and command of a battery of facts, Will Hutton's The World We're In is a fierce attack on the politics of Euroscepticism and US economic conservatism. Hutton has already established his credentials as one of the leading liberal economic thinkers on the British State with his bestselling The State We're In. In The World We're In he widens his focus to discuss the global economy and the fraught relations between the US and Europe in the aftermath of September 11.
Hutton argues that "if the rest of the world is not careful, our future will be to accept globalisation almost entirely on American conservative terms." He believes that the great tradition of liberalism in the US is in retreat, that "America is the most unequal society in the industrialised West", and that claims regarding its economic supremacy and efficiency have been hugely exaggerated. For Hutton, the future lies with the European Union's more inclusive and liberal approach towards politics and economics.
The book skilfully charts its way through the different historical, economic and philosophical approaches to land, law and profit that have defined the European and American traditions, concluding that Europe offers a better "scope within globalisation for different cultures and approaches to capitalism to flourish." For Hutton, this involves a philosophical belief in the existence of a civic society and a flourishing society, a "decentralised State, consensual labour relations" and a stakeholder ethos that America has always lacked. He admits that this "is a book for the idea of Europe", that also envisages the United Kingdom at the heart of Europe, not Washington. Marshalling an impressive array of economic data alongside an impassioned belief in radical democracy, The World We're In is an important addition to the urgent discussions regarding the world we want. --Jerry Brotton