"Capitalism, Culture and Decline in Britain" is an original and controversial analysis of the thesis, made familiar in recent years by Martin J. Wiener, Anthony Sampson, Correlli Barnett, and others, which states that Britain's alleged economic decline since 1870 was the result of deep-seated anti-industrial factors in Britain's culture. Rubinstein argues, from a novel perspective, that Britain was never an industrial, but always a commercial/financial economy whose comparative advantage lay within that area.
Rubinstein illustrates that the much-criticized features of Britain's class system, such as the public schools, were actually efficient instruments to enhance this competitive advantage. He closely examines Britain's cultural values and elite structures to demonstrate that these were both rational and modern, arguing that Britain's standard of living has been virtually identical to all countries whose economies have been considered more "successful." Emphasizing the central importance of London-based finance and addressing socialism, Keynesianism, and Thatcherism, "Capitalism, Culture, and Decline in" "Britain" presents an original and challenging contribution to this debate.
"Mr. Rubinstein's book is powerfully argued and, for a chronically depressed and self-deprecating nation, a much-needed corrective."
." . . written with wit and passion. It is a persuasive antidote to many of the cliches about British industrial decline."
." . . [it] is well-written, is vigorously but courteously argued, and contains an abundance of interesting information."
-"London Review of Books
." . . should be widely read."
-"Times Educational Supplement