Kieran Pender reviews 'Moneyland: Why thieves and crooks now rule the world and how to take it back' by Oliver Bullough

Kieran Pender reviews 'Moneyland: Why thieves and crooks now rule the world and how to take it back' by Oliver Bullough

Moneyland: Why thieves and crooks now rule the world and how to take it back

by Oliver Bullough

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.

Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month.

We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Published in May 2019, no. 411
Kieran Pender

Kieran Pender

Kieran Pender is an Australian writer and legal researcher based in London. He is a visiting fellow at The Australian National University's Centre for International and Public Law, and a frequent contributor to The Guardian, Monocle and Australian Book Review. He has reported from four continents and spoken at the United Nations, European Parliament and OECD.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.