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Start the Week: BBC Radio 4

Social inequality - up close

The failure of British politics and public institutions to tackle social inequality is down to proximity, so says the writer, performer and activist Darren McGarvey. In The Social Distance Between Us: How Remote Politics Wrecked Britain he looks at the huge gulf – geographic, economic and cultural – between those who make decisions and the people on the receiving end of them. He tells Adam Rutherford it’s time for a meaningful discussion in which the voiceless and powerless get heard. The Social Distance Between Us is BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week.

The poet Jo Clement gives voice to the stories and people of her family’s Romany past. In her collection Outlandish she has no time for Romantic impressions of British Gypsy ethnicity as she moves from ancient stopping-places to decaying council estates. Her poems are imaginative protests that cast light on a hidden and threatened culture.

It’s a far cry from the world of former broker Brett Scott. But in his latest book, Cloudmoney: Cash Cards, Crypto and the War for our Wallets he argues that social inequality will only increase if cash is allowed to disappear. A cashless society is the vision of big finance and tech, and he warns that it will end up only benefitting the few, while infringing the privacy of the many.

Producer: Katy Hickman


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