He also at times seems to be scripting a technocrat’s ideal job. Who would dole out billions of pounds from the Nature Fund, and write the UK’s 25-year environmental plan? An economist in the sky? Someone rather like the current chair of the Natural Capital Committee? That said, this is an important analysis, argued with passion, intelligence and rigour. It is timely, too, not just because Brexit may force radical change on farming but because — as Helm makes compellingly clear — of the urgency of the problem.
Helm takes us across the country, uplands and lowlands, coast and seas, exposing each time a world of folly and false assumptions, along with a collection of vested interests that keep those follies in place...Despite its title, this is not an instantly practical national self-help manual: it is more a listing of our national follies — follies we could set aside at a stroke if only we thought it through from an economist’s point of view. But it is still an important book. The notion of the financial value of nature is long established. Helm takes this further to present a pure economic argument for conservation. We all need to listen to that.