Moneyland: Why thieves and crooks now rule the world and how to take it back
Profile Books, $39.99 hb, 304 pp, 9781781257920
The world, according to writer Oliver Bullough, has a problem. One unexpected consequence of globalisation and the liberalisation of financial policy has been an increasing flow of money across borders. This has given rise to a new global élite. Aided by seemingly respectable lawyers, bankers, and real estate agents, it operates largely beyond the reach of domestic regulation. That would be concerning enough if the élite’s wealth was hard earned; it becomes particularly alarming when much of that wealth is derived from corruption. In the world this élite inhabits – what Bullough labels ‘Moneyland’ – dollars, pounds, and euros trump all.
Bullough is an Oxford-educated Brit whose cynical worldview was shaped by seven years in Russia, largely as a Reuters correspondent. He witnessed the rise of President Vladimir Putin and specialised in the post-conflict areas of the Caucasus. These experiences were articulated in his first two books, Let Our Fame Be Great (2010, on Chechnya) and The Last Man in Russia (2013, shortlisted for the Orwell Prize). He publishes widely and brings this journalistic pedigree to bear in this deeply reported, fast-paced work of non-fiction.