Are We Rich Yet?: The Rise of Mass Investment Culture in Contemporary Britain

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Univ of California Press, Jun 14, 2022 - Business & Economics - 384 pages
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An in-depth history of how finance remade everyday life in Thatcher's Britain.

Are We Rich Yet? tells the story of the financialization of British society. During the 1980s and 1990s, financial markets became part of daily life for many Britons as the practice of investing moved away from the offices of the City of London, onto Britain’s high streets, and into people’s homes. The Conservative Party claimed this shift as evidence that capital ownership was in the process of being democratized. In practice, investing became more institutionalized than ever in late-twentieth-century Britain: inclusion frequently meant tying one’s fortunes to the credit, insurance, pension, and mortgage industries to maintain independence from state-run support systems.
 
In tracing the rise of a consumer-oriented mass investment culture, historian Amy Edwards explains how the "financial" become such a central part of British society, not only economically and politically, but socially and culturally, too. She shifts our focus away from the corridors of Whitehall and towards a cast of characters that included brokers, bankers and traders, newspaper editors, goods manufacturers, marketing departments, production companies, and hundreds of thousands of ordinary men and women. Between them, they shaped the terrain upon which political and economic reform occurred. Grappling with the interactions between structural transformation and the rhythms of everyday life, Are We Rich Yet? thus understands the rise of neoliberalism as something other than the inevitable outcome of a carefully orchestrated right-wing political revolution.
 

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Contents

Investment Culture from
22
Speculation and the Small Investor
55
The Rise of Financial Consumerism
94
The Making
136
Finance and Investment in Popular Culture
173
Are We Rich Yet? Investment Clubs and Investor Activism
209
Conclusion
241
Bibliography
313
Index
343
Copyright

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About the author (2022)

Amy Edwards is a Lecturer in Modern British History at the University of Bristol. Her research focuses on cultures of capitalism, finance, and enterprise in twentieth- and twenty-first-century Britain.

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