We think our wealth today comes from productive corporations and workers, but they merely add icing to a cake baked long ago. In this provocative book, Peter Barnes argues that most of today's wealth is co-inherited from nature and past human efforts, not individually earned. If some of that co-inherited wealth were placed in trust for each of us, living and yet-to-be born - creating what Barnes calls "universal property" - capitalism would be fundamentally transformed.
As Barnes notes, capitalism as we know it has two tragic flaws: it relentlessly widens inequality and destroys nature. Both flaws are a result of one-sided property rights that favor capital over everything else. Adding universal property to the current property mix would create a market economy in which businesses prosper, nature's limits are respected, and a large middle class thrives. This smart and concise book could set the agenda for a post-COVID world.
Publisher: Polity Press
Number of pages: 140
Weight: 666 g
Dimensions: 216 x 138 x 15 mm
"Ours offers an elegant, market-based solution to inequality that is hiding in plain sight. It's not subsidies or tax credits, just smart and fair management of wealth we inherit together. Thomas Paine pointed the way two centuries ago; Peter Barnes shows how to do it today."
Chuck Collins, author of The Wealth Hoarders
"Whether on the political right or left, thoughtful people should support the core idea of this exciting book - a trust fund for providing everybody with basic income security."
Guy Standing, SOAS University of London