The Great Divergence : America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do about It

Walmart # 561920399

The Great Divergence : America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do about It

Walmart # 561920399
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Noah delivers this urgently needed inquiry into the income gap, drawing on the best work of contemporary researchers to peer beyond conventional wisdom about how the Great Divergence has come about, but why it threatens American democracy, and how it can be reversed.

About This Item

Hardcover, St Martins Pr, 2012, ISBN13 9781608196333, ISBN10 160819633X
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Things I learned: FDR pro

Things I learned: FDR proposed that "no American citizen ought to have a net income, after he has paid his taxes, of more than $25,000." Horatio Alger became a writer after being forced out of the pulpit for molesting a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old (both boys). Things I didn't: corporate compensation is out of control ("[In the hiring of top executives,] the formalities of labor market research may be observed at the outset, but only in the same way the Geneva Conventions were observed at Abu Ghraib."); immigration is not to blame for most of the growing inequality, nor is low-wage foreign competition; the decline of unions and the rise of corporate influence on politics have done much more to increase inequality; if you want to decrease inequality, vote for a Democrat.

This book began life as a

This book began life as a series of articles for Slate, the online magazine. The author carefully explains the "Great Convergence", a period when income inequality was declining in the US, then goes on to explore the causes, the implications, and the possible cures of the "Great Divergence", which is our current era of growing income inequality. Mr. Noah is a balanced reporter, careful to give all relevant sides to a debatable question. Nonetheless, he clearly states that he believes that excessive income inequality ultimately is bad for any society, especially a democratic one. Particularly useful is the section where he discusses theories about why inequality might be useful or the Great Divergence a temporary phenomenon. His list of proposed fixes (soak the rich, help unions, etc.) are mostly not feasible given our current political state. I would also like to have seen more effort or originality in proposing solutions that better address globalization and technology. Nonetheless, this is an important and valuable book.

I found this book most in

I found this book most interesting for Noah's discussions of economic history to put contemporary issues in context. Most impressive is the argument he presents about the direct correlation between the rise of strong labor unions and the growth of the middle class, and the obvious relationship between the decline of labor unions and the shrinking of the middle class.

This is a great overview

This is a great overview of income disparity in the United States. Noah covers the subject well, including talking about income in the context of racial minorities' and women's rights. The chapters are all relatively short, conversational but never superficial or argumentative in tone, and highly critical of a system that is undeniably rigged to help those that need it the least. I especially liked that he included the counterarguments that conservatives often put forth, followed by a summary of how to debate those points, very useful.However, when I read books like this (and I think this must happen on the right as well), I can't help shake that "preaching to the choir" feeling. I plan to, but I have not read Nickel and Dimed, and I don't really need to read it to agree with Noah that this is a serious issue that we ignore at our own peril. (And, we can read all the books we want about this, but actual action ultimately is up to the reader, of course.) I'd like to see a book about how to convince conservatives about this.I guess this is not really a fault of Noah or his book, but I suppose I am addressing the left as a whole. My question is: how do we get people to actually listen. OWS has done this to a degree, but I've yet to see any actual change in government as of yet. Well, I won't go off on this tangent here for now, but I'd be happy to do so in any comments people have. Great book overall. Read it and leave it somewhere for someone else to read when you're done.
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