The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina exposed to the world what many U.S. politicians and pundits have long been able to ignore. The media images that commanded our attention spoke loudly of the class and racial divisions that still exist in the United States today. Despite the stock market gains of the 1990s, which increased the ranks of millionaires and created greater wealth for those already wealthy, U.S. society has witnessed a dramatic increase in class inequality over that last two decades. A host of newly available research indicates that the United States is afar more classbound society than was previously supposed. The rich are becoming both relatively and absolutely richer while the poor are becoming relatively, if not absolutely, poorer.
More Unequal: Aspects of Class in the United States is a sobering examination of the dynamics of class relations today. John Bellamy Foster, William K. Tabb, David Roediger, Stephanie Luce, and Mark Brenner— among others—contribute essays that challenge many of our assumptions about class and provide a multilayered analysis. Topics include the impact of social and economic policy on class; wealth and prospects for the working poor; undocumented workers and their exploitation in the U.S. informal economy; race and class struggles post-Hurricane Katrina; women and class over the last forty years; and education reform and the devastating effects for public schooling. Editor, Michael D. Yates shares a personal story of his working-class life and values, the shaping of his political consciousness, and the people and ideas that inspired his teaching.
For the vast majority of us, a strong work ethic and desire to see the next generation in better circumstances are no longer enough. The barriers separating classes are hardening. Class inequality manifests itself in wealth, income, and occupation, but also in education, consumption, and health. More Unequal: Aspects of Class in the United States demonstrates that an analysis of society as a whole—its relationships of power, conflict, and potential for social change— is not possible without a thorough investigation of the role and meaning of class.