Latest Issue

De te fabula narratur

Are there any limits to the Americanisation of Britain? Alan Ryan, who has just returned from nine years in the US, hopes that Britain will resist the punitive and religious enthusiasms from across the Atlantic, but argues that there is no alternative to copying the US model in higher education

By Alan Ryan   December 1996

When Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital, he knew that a sceptical reader might wonder why he had spent hundreds of pages reciting for German readers a contentious account of British economic history. De te fabula narratur-this is your story-was his reply. “The developed country shows to the less developed the image of its future.” This is an apt moment to wonder whether a modern Marx would want to tell the British, not that they show the future to Germany, but that the US displays their future to them. To put it more bluntly: is what Americans are getting from Bill…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect