As inequality grabs headlines, steals the show in presidential debates, and drives deep divides between the haves and have nots in America, class war brews. On one side, the wealthy wield power and advantage, wittingly or not, to keep the system operating in their favor--all while retreating into enclaves that separate them further and further from the poor and working class.Read more...
As inequality grabs headlines, steals the show in presidential debates, and drives deep divides between the haves and have nots in America, class war brews. On one side, the wealthy wield power and advantage, wittingly or not, to keep the system operating in their favor--all while retreating into enclaves that separate them further and further from the poor and working class. On the other side, those who find it increasingly difficult to keep up or get ahead lash out--waging a rhetorical war against the rich and letting anger and resentment, however justifiable, keep us from seeing new potential solutions.
But can we suspend both class wars long enough to consider a new way forward? Is it really good for anyone that most of society's wealth is pooling at the very top of the wealth ladder? Does anyone, including the one percent, really want to live in a society plagued by economic apartheid?
It is time to think differently, says longtime inequality expert and activist Chuck Collins. Born into the one percent, Collins gave away his inheritance at 26 and spent the next three decades mobilizing against inequality. He uses his perspective from both sides of the divide to deliver a new narrative.
Collins calls for a ceasefire and invites the wealthy to come back home, investing themselves and their wealth in struggling communities. And he asks the non-wealthy to build alliances with the one percent and others at the top of the wealth ladder.
Stories told along the way explore the roots of advantage, show how taxpayers subsidize the wealthy, and reveal how charity, used incorrectly, can actually reinforce extreme inequality. Readers meet pioneers who are crossing the divide to work together in new ways, including residents in the author's own Boston-area neighborhood who have launched some of the most interesting community transition efforts in the nation.
In the end, Collins's national and local solutions not only challenge inequality but also respond to climate change and offer an unexpected, fresh take on one of our most intransigent problems.
- ISBN-13: 9781603586832
- ISBN-10: 1603586830
- Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company
- Publish Date: September 2016
- Page Count: 288
- Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-07-25
- Reviewer: Staff
Collins (99 to 1), born to great privilege, takes a thoughtful, well-written, and carefully researched approach to solving the extreme imbalance in wealth distribution, directed toward one- and 99-percenters alike. Refreshingly, Collins not only talks the talk but walks the walk: at age 26 he gave up his $500,000 trust fund and dedicated his life to ending inequality. The book's first half outlines the problems of uneven wealth distribution, which have been made even more evident by the 2008 economic downturn. This part includes a section addressing racial issues in the U.S. and making the case for federal reparations for slavery. What Collins does even better than describing the challenge is, in the book's second half, outlining significant and specific solutions. He includes 10 elements of a program for the wealthiest 1% to follow, imploring readers to connect with both "people around us" and "people who are completely different." He makes an appeal for "humanity and empathy" at the book's very beginning, shows how he and others have worked to embody it, and reinforces the importance of this approach at the conclusion. Wherever readers fall on the economic scale, this is a worthwhile book to read, digest, and share. (Sept.)