Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality

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Overview


The issue of inequality has irrefutably returned to the fore, riding on the anger against Wall Street following the 2008 financial crisis and the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of the super–rich. The Occupy movement made the plight of the 99 percent an indelible part of the public consciousness, and concerns about inequality were a decisive factor in the 2012 presidential elections.

How bad is it? According to Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David ...

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Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality

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Overview


The issue of inequality has irrefutably returned to the fore, riding on the anger against Wall Street following the 2008 financial crisis and the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of the super–rich. The Occupy movement made the plight of the 99 percent an indelible part of the public consciousness, and concerns about inequality were a decisive factor in the 2012 presidential elections.

How bad is it? According to Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Cay Johnston, most Americans, in inflation–adjusted terms, are now back to the average income of 1966. Shockingly, from 2009 to 2011, the top 1 percent got 121 percent of the income gains while the bottom 99 percent saw their income fall. Yet in this most unequal of developed nations, every aspect of inequality remains hotly contested and poorly understood.

Divided collects the writings of leading scholars, activists, and journalists to provide an illuminating, multifaceted look at inequality in America, exploring its devastating implications in areas as diverse as education, justice, health care, social mobility, and political representation. Provocative and eminently readable, here is an essential resource for anyone who cares about the future of America—and compelling evidence that inequality can be ignored only at the nation’s peril.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A potent chronicle of America's 'extreme inequality, the worst by far of any nation with a modern economy.'"
Kirkus Reviews
From the Publisher

n a democracy, the civics textbooks tell us, people come together to discuss, debate, and decide solutions to the common problems they face. But this democratic deliberation only works effectively when most people have the same problems in common. In deeply unequal societies, they don’t.
—Sam Pizzigatti, Too Much
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-26
Investigative reporter Johnston (The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use "Plain English" to Rob You Blind, 2012, etc.) collects together writings from forty authors representing many different fields of endeavor to present a multifaceted picture of inequality. Among the contributors are President Barack Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, journalist Barbara Ehrenreich, international trade unionists, and specialists from academia and the think-tank world—even Studs Terkel. The keynote of the collection is the president's Dec. 6, 2011, speech in Osawatomie, Kan., in which he argued that widening inequality contributed to the financial collapse in 2008. On that occasion, Obama struck a note of optimism about his reforms and their prospects for implementation. Johnston's introduction is quite a bit more pessimistic, as he notes that nearly 95 percent of all income gains between 2009 and 2012 went to the top 1 percent. The income of the "vast majority, the bottom 90 per cent," shrank by 15.7 percent on average, to a level lower than it was in 1966. Other contributors fill out the picture and shape a timeline of the widening of the divisions. Warren's piece on the disappearing middle class was written in 2004. In 2007, Ehrenreich exposed Home Depot Chairman Robert Nardelli's monstrous 2007 golden parachute. A chapter by Donald S. Shepherd, Elizabeth Setren and Donna Cooper on how hunger increased in America during the recession by 30 percent appeared on Slate in 2012. Also documented: how income inequality constricts access to goods both public and private, like food, education and health care. Johnston includes an excerpt from Adam Smith's 1776 Wealth of Nations: "By necessaries I understand not only the commodities which are indispensably necessary for the support of life, but whatever the custom of the country renders it indecent for creditable people, even of the lowest order, to be without." A potent chronicle of America's "extreme inequality, the worst by far of any nation with a modern economy."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595589231
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 82,355
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David Cay Johnston is an investigative journalist and author, a specialist in economics and tax issues, and the winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting for uncovering loopholes and inequities in the U.S. tax code. He is the president of Investigative Reporters & Editors and the author of the bestselling Perfectly Legal and The Fine Print.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

    Highly recommend.

    I saw the author being interviewed on "The Daily Report" and was curious. The book offers the reader a variety of topics and people that will open your eyes to what's happening in our schools, with jobs, health care, with the level of poverty and minimum wage, along with so much more. Your level of concern given these issues and the politics impacting all of us will increase 10-fold. You'll learn more than you expected and will ask yourself the question, "where do I start, in order to have an impact for the betterment of all?"

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