A Foreign Affairs Best Book of the Year“An intellectual excursion of a kind rarely offered by modern economics.”—Foreign AffairsThomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is the most widely discussed work of economics in recent years. But are its analyses of inequality and economic growth on target? Where should researchers go from there in exploring the ideas Piketty pushed to the forefront of global conversation? A cast of leading economists and other social scientists—including Emmanuel Saez, Branko Milanovic, Laura Tyson, and Michael Spence—tackle these questions in dialogue with Piketty.“A fantastic introduction to Piketty’s main argument in Capital, and to some of the main criticisms, including doubt that his key equation…showing that returns on capital grow faster than the economy—will hold true in the long run.”—Nature“Piketty’s work…laid bare just how ill-equipped our existing frameworks are for understanding, predicting, and changing inequality. This extraordinary collection shows that our most nimble social scientists are responding to the challenge.”—Justin Wolfers, University of Michigan
The authors provide a global range of case studies from both New and Old World archaeology—a royal Aztec dog burial, the monumental horse tombs of Central Asia, and the ceremonial macaw cages of ancient Mexico among them. They explore the complex relationships between people and animals in social, economic, political, and ritual contexts, incorporating animal remains from archaeological sites with artifacts, texts, and iconography to develop their interpretations.
Animals and Inequality in the Ancient World presents new data and interpretations that reveal the role of animals, their products, and their symbolism in structuring social inequalities in the ancient world. The volume will be of interest to archaeologists, especially zooarchaeologists, and classical scholars of pre-modern civilizations and societies.
The story of how a biologically driven understanding of gender and sexuality became central to US LGBTQ+ political and legal advocacy.
Across protests and courtrooms, LGBTQ+ advocates argue that sexual and gender identities are innate. Oppositely, conservatives incite panic over “groomers” and a contagious “gender ideology” that corrupts susceptible children. Yet, as this debate rages on, the history of what first compelled the hunt for homosexuality’s biological origin story may hold answers for the queer rights movement’s future.
Born This Way tells the story of how a biologically based understanding of gender and sexuality became central to LGBTQ+ advocacy. Starting in the 1950s, activists sought out mental health experts to combat the pathologizing of homosexuality. As Joanna Wuest shows, these relationships were forged in subsequent decades alongside two broader, concurrent developments: the rise of an interest-group model of rights advocacy and an explosion of biogenetic and bio-based psychological research. The result is essential reading to fully understand LGBTQ+ activism today and how clashes over science remain crucial to equal rights struggles.
Our early ancestors lived in small groups and worked actively to preserve social equality. As they created larger societies, however, inequality rose, and by 2500 bce truly egalitarian societies were on the wane. In The Creation of Inequality, Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus demonstrate that this development was not simply the result of population increase, food surplus, or the accumulation of valuables. Instead, inequality resulted from conscious manipulation of the unique social logic that lies at the core of every human group.A few societies allowed talented and ambitious individuals to rise in prestige while still preventing them from becoming a hereditary elite. But many others made high rank hereditary, by manipulating debts, genealogies, and sacred lore. At certain moments in history, intense competition among leaders of high rank gave rise to despotic kingdoms and empires in the Near East, Egypt, Africa, Mexico, Peru, and the Pacific.Drawing on their vast knowledge of both living and prehistoric social groups, Flannery and Marcus describe the changes in logic that create larger and more hierarchical societies, and they argue persuasively that many kinds of inequality can be overcome by reversing these changes, rather than by violence.
Thomas Piketty—whose Capital in the Twenty-First Century pushed inequality to the forefront of public debate—wrote The Economics of Inequality as an introduction to the conceptual and factual background necessary for interpreting changes in economic inequality over time. This concise text has established itself as an indispensable guide for students and general readers in France, where it has been regularly updated and revised. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer, The Economics of Inequality now appears in English for the first time.Piketty begins by explaining how inequality evolves and how economists measure it. In subsequent chapters, he explores variances in income and ownership of capital and the variety of policies used to reduce these gaps. Along the way, with characteristic clarity and precision, he introduces key ideas about the relationship between labor and capital, the effects of different systems of taxation, the distinction between “historical” and “political” time, the impact of education and technological change, the nature of capital markets, the role of unions, and apparent tensions between the pursuit of efficiency and the pursuit of fairness.Succinct, accessible, and authoritative, this is the ideal place to start for those who want to understand the fundamental issues at the heart of one of the most pressing concerns in contemporary economics and politics.
Why—contrary to much expert and popular opinion—more education may not be the answer to skyrocketing inequality.For generations, Americans have looked to education as the solution to economic disadvantage. Yet, although more people are earning degrees, the gap between rich and poor is widening. Cristina Groeger delves into the history of this seeming contradiction, explaining how education came to be seen as a panacea even as it paved the way for deepening inequality.The Education Trap returns to the first decades of the twentieth century, when Americans were grappling with the unprecedented inequities of the Gilded Age. Groeger’s test case is the city of Boston, which spent heavily on public schools. She examines how workplaces came to depend on an army of white-collar staff, largely women and second-generation immigrants, trained in secondary schools. But Groeger finds that the shift to more educated labor had negative consequences—both intended and unintended—for many workers. Employers supported training in schools in order to undermine the influence of craft unions, and so shift workplace power toward management. And advanced educational credentials became a means of controlling access to high-paying professional and business jobs, concentrating power and wealth. Formal education thus became a central force in maintaining inequality.The idea that more education should be the primary means of reducing inequality may be appealing to politicians and voters, but Groeger warns that it may be a dangerous policy trap. If we want a more equitable society, we should not just prescribe more time in the classroom, but fight for justice in the workplace.
Challenging the dominant view of Hawai’i as a “melting pot paradise”—a place of ethnic tolerance and equality—Jonathan Okamura examines how ethnic inequality is structured and maintained in island society. He finds that ethnicity, not race or class, signifies difference for Hawaii’s people and therefore structures their social relations. In Hawai’i, residents attribute greater social significance to the presumed cultural differences between ethnicities than to more obvious physical differences, such as skin color.
According to Okamura, ethnicity regulates disparities in access to resources, rewards, and privileges among ethnic groups, as he demonstrates in his analysis of socioeconomic and educational inequalities in the state. He shows that socially and economically dominant ethnic groups—Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, and Whites—have stigmatized and subjugated the islands’ other ethnic groups—especially Native Hawaiians, Filipino Americans, and Samoans. He demonstrates how ethnic stereotypes have been deployed against ethnic minorities and how these groups have contested their subordinate political and economic status by articulating new identities for themselves.
Today's urban environments are layered with data and algorithms that fundamentally shape how we perceive and move through space. But are our digitally dense environments continuing to amplify inequalities rather than alleviate them? This book looks at the key contours of information inequality, and who, what and where gets left out.
Platforms like Google Maps and Wikipedia have become important gateways to understanding the world, and yet they are characterized by significant gaps and biases, often driven by processes of exclusion. As a result, their digital augmentations tend to be refractions rather than reflections: they highlight only some facets of the world at the expense of others.
This doesn't mean that more equitable futures aren't possible. By outlining the mechanisms through which our digital and material worlds intersect, the authors conclude with a roadmap for what alternative digital geographies might look like.
One of the world’s leading experts on international trade explains that we must look beyond globalization to explain rising inequality.Globalization is not the primary cause of rising inequality. This may come as a surprise. Inequality within nations has risen steadily in recent decades, at a time when countries around the world have eased restrictions on the movement of goods, capital, and labor. Many assume a causal relationship, which has motivated opposition to policies that promote freer trade. Elhanan Helpman shows, however, in this timely study that this assumption about the effects of globalization is more myth than fact.Globalization and Inequality guides us through two decades of research about the connections among international trade, offshoring, and changes in income, and shows that the overwhelming conclusion of contemporary research is that globalization is responsible for only a small rise in inequality. The chief causes remain difficult to pin down, though technological developments favoring highly skilled workers and changes in corporate and public policies are leading suspects. As Helpman makes clear, this does not mean that globalization creates no problems. Critics may be right to raise concerns about such matters as cultural autonomy, child labor, and domestic sovereignty. But if we wish to curb inequality while protecting what is best about an interconnected world, we must start with a clear view of what globalization does and does not do and look elsewhere to understand our troubling and growing divide.
Inequality, per se, has been with us for millennia. With the creation, growth and deepening of Capitalism across the globe, inequalities take on new dimensions, unknown in previous eras. As Capitalism has spread its wings across the globe over the last 200 or so years, so inequalities have deepened and widened, both inside Nation Sates, between nation States. These inequalities are of income, wealth and of power.
This book, written by the widely respected economic historian Douglas Dowd at the age of 90, is notable for his own experience and vivid memory, of the 1929-31 recession. Since the 1980s, and the predominance of the present neo-liberal ideology, all of the inequalities that the book presents have grown rapidly. Written as a critique of the counter-productivity of growing economic inequality and vindicated by the present world banking crisis, Dowd presents a strong argument against capitalist expansion, exploitation and oligarchic rule.
Dowd's conclusions, that the globalization and growth of the financial sector will impact painfully upon hundreds of millions of people, unknown to most of us in our lifetime, Dowd's book deals with these issues from the unique perspective of inequality. Presenting both a history of the current crisis and an overview of it's, Inequality will appeal to both a broad general readership, and provides an extremely useful reference point for students of political economy, economic history, contemporary economics and global politics.
Winner of the Richard A. Lester Award for the Outstanding Book in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics, Princeton UniversityAn Economist Best Economics and Business Book of the YearA Financial Times Best Economics Book of the YearInequality is one of our most urgent social problems. Curbed in the decades after World War II, it has recently returned with a vengeance. We all know the scale of the problem—talk about the 99% and the 1% is entrenched in public debate—but there has been little discussion of what we can do but despair. According to the distinguished economist Anthony Atkinson, however, we can do much more than skeptics imagine.“[Atkinson] sets forth a list of concrete, innovative, and persuasive proposals meant to show that alternatives still exist, that the battle for social progress and equality must reclaim its legitimacy, here and now… Witty, elegant, profound, this book should be read.”—Thomas Piketty, New York Review of Books“An uncomfortable affront to our reigning triumphalists. [Atkinson’s] premise is straightforward: inequality is not unavoidable, a fact of life like the weather, but the product of conscious human behavior.—Owen Jones, The Guardian
Ever since Alfred Binet carried out a 1904 commission from France’s minister of public instruction to devise a means for deciding which pupils should be sent to what would now be called special education classes, IQ scores have been used to label and track children. Those same scores have been cited as "proof" that different races, classes, and genders are of superior and inferior intelligence.
The Menshes make clear that from the beginning IQ tests have been fundamentally biased. Offered as a means for seeking solutions to social problems, the actual measurements have been used to maintain the status quo. Often the most telling comments are from the test-makers themselves, whether Binet ("little girls weak in orthography are strong in sewing and capable in the instruction concerning housekeeping; and, all things considered, this is more important for their future") or Wigdor and Garner ("naive use of intelligence tests . . . to place children of linguistic or racial minority status in special education programs will not be defensible in court").
Among the disturbing facts that the authors share is that there is mounting political pressure for more tests and testing despite a court trial in which the judge stated that "defendants’ expert witnesses, even those clearly affiliated with the companies that devise and distribute the standardized intelligence tests, agreed, with one exception, that we cannot truly define, much less measure, intelligence." The testing firms have responded to this carefully orchestrated need with new products that extend even to the IQ testing of three-month-old infants. The authors stress that, if the testers prevail, there is little doubt that these and similar tests would be used "ad infinitum to justify superior and inferior education along class and racial lines."
Neil Kraus evaluates both the influence of public opinion on local policy-making and the extent to which public policy addresses economic and social inequalities. Drawing on several years of fieldwork and multiple sources of data, including surveys and polls; initiatives, referenda, and election results; government documents; focus groups; interviews; and a wide assortment of secondary sources, Kraus presents case studies of two Midwestern cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Gary, Indiana. Specifically, he focuses on several major policy decisions in recent decades concerning education, law enforcement, and affordable housing in Minneapolis; and education and riverboat casino development in Gary.
Kraus finds that, on these issues, local officials frequently take action that reflects public opinion, yet the resulting policies often fail to meet the needs of the disadvantaged or ameliorate the effects of concentrated poverty. In light of citizens’ current attitudes, he concludes that if patterns of inequality are to be more effectively addressed, scholars and policymakers must transform the debate about the causes and effects of inequality in urban and metropolitan settings.
An unprecedented account of social stratification within the US legal profession.
How do race, class, gender, and law school status condition the career trajectories of lawyers? And how do professionals then navigate these parameters?
The Making of Lawyers’ Careers provides an unprecedented account of the last two decades of the legal profession in the US, offering a data-backed look at the structure of the profession and the inequalities that early-career lawyers face across race, gender, and class distinctions. Starting in 2000, the authors collected over 10,000 survey responses from more than 5,000 lawyers, following these lawyers through the first twenty years of their careers. They also interviewed more than two hundred lawyers and drew insights from their individual stories, contextualizing data with theory and close attention to the features of a market-driven legal profession.
Their findings show that lawyers’ careers both reflect and reproduce inequalities within society writ large. They also reveal how individuals exercise agency despite these constraints.
Milkman's introduction frames a career-spanning scholarly project: her interrogation of historical and contemporary intersections of class and gender inequalities in the workplace, and the efforts to challenge those inequalities. Early chapters focus on her pioneering work on women's labor during the Great Depression and the World War II years. In the book's second half, Milkman turns to the past fifty years, a period that saw a dramatic decline in gender inequality even as growing class imbalances created greater-than-ever class disparity among women. She concludes with a previously unpublished essay comparing the impact of the Great Depression and the Great Recession on women workers.
A first-of-its-kind collection, On Gender, Labor, and Inequality is an indispensable text by one of the world's top scholars of gender, equality, and work.
China’s modern history has been marked by deep spatial inequalities between regions, between cities, and between rural and urban areas. These inequalities have variously been attributed to the dualistic economy of semi-colonialism, rural–urban division in the socialist period, and capital concentration in the reform era. In Pivot of China, Mark Baker argues that different states across twentieth-century China shaped these inequalities in similar ways, concentrating resources in urban and core areas at the expense of rural and regional peripheries.Pivot of China tells this story through the city of Zhengzhou, one of the most dramatic success stories of China’s urbanization: a railroad boomtown of the early twentieth century, a key industrial center and provincial capital of Henan Province in the 1950s, and by the 2020s a “National Central City” of almost ten million people. However, due to the spatial politics of resource concentration, Zhengzhou’s twentieth-century growth as a regional city did not kickstart a wider economic takeoff in its hinterland. Instead, unequal spatial politics generated layers of inequality that China is still grappling with in the twenty-first century.
Profiles of triumph and hardship amid massive inequality in Latin America.
Each chapter of Portraits of Persistence, a project of the University of Texas Urban Ethnography Lab, offers an intimate portrait of one or two individual lives. The subjects are a diverse group of individuals from across the continent: grassroots activists and political brokers, private security entrepreneurs, female drug dealers, shantytown dwellers, and rural farmers, as well as migrants finding routes into and out of the region. Through these accounts, the writers explore issues that are common throughout today's world: precarious work situations, gender oppression, housing displacement, experiences navigating the bureaucracy for asylum seekers, state violence, environmental devastation, and access to good and affordable health care. Carefully situating these experiences within the sociohistorical context of their specific local regions or countries, editor Javier Auyero and his colleagues consider how people make sense of the paths their lives have taken, the triumphs and hardships they have experienced, and the aspirations they hold for the future. Ultimately, these twelve compelling profiles offer unique and personal windows into the region’s complex and multilayered reality.
Restructuring the Philadelphia Region offers one of the most comprehensive and careful investigations written to date about metropolitan inequalities in America’s large urban regions. Moving beyond simplistic analyses of cities-versus-suburbs, the authors use a large and unique data set to discover the special patterns of opportunity in greater Philadelphia, a sprawling, complex metropolitan region consisting of more than 350 separate localities. With each community operating its own public services and competing to attract residents and businesses, the places people live offer them dramatically different opportunities.
The book vividly portrays the region’s uneven development—paying particular attention to differences in housing, employment and educational opportunities in different communities—and describes the actors who are working to promote greater regional cooperation. Surprisingly, local government officials are not prominent among those actors. Instead, a rich network of “third-sector” actors, represented by nonprofit organizations, quasi-governmental authorities and voluntary associations, is shaping a new form of regionalism.
A pioneering book that takes us beyond economic debate to show how inequality is returning us to a past dominated by empires, dynastic elites, and ethnic divisions.The economic facts of inequality are clear. The rich have been pulling away from the rest of us for years, and the super-rich have been pulling away from the rich. More and more assets are concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Mainstream economists say we need not worry; what matters is growth, not distribution. In The Return of Inequality, acclaimed sociologist Mike Savage pushes back, explaining inequality’s profound deleterious effects on the shape of societies.Savage shows how economic inequality aggravates cultural, social, and political conflicts, challenging the coherence of liberal democratic nation-states. Put simply, severe inequality returns us to the past. By fracturing social bonds and harnessing the democratic process to the strategies of a resurgent aristocracy of the wealthy, inequality revives political conditions we thought we had moved beyond: empires and dynastic elites, explosive ethnic division, and metropolitan dominance that consigns all but a few cities to irrelevance. Inequality, in short, threatens to return us to the very history we have been trying to escape since the Age of Revolution.Westerners have been slow to appreciate that inequality undermines the very foundations of liberal democracy: faith in progress and trust in the political community’s concern for all its members. Savage guides us through the ideas of leading theorists of inequality, including Marx, Bourdieu, and Piketty, revealing how inequality reimposes the burdens of the past. At once analytically rigorous and passionately argued, The Return of Inequality is a vital addition to one of our most important public debates.
“Economic and political forces no longer combat poverty—they generate poverty!" exclaim William Goldsmith and Edward Blakely in their report on the plight of American's urban poor. In this revised and updated edition of their 1992 book Separate Societies,the authors present a compelling examination of the damaging divisions that isolate poor city minority residents from the middle-class suburban majority. They pay special attention to how the needs of the permanently poor have been unmet through the alternating years of promises and neglect, and propose a progressive turn away from 30 years of conservative policies.
Separate Societies vividly documents how the urban working class has been pushed out of industrial jobs through global economic restructuring, and how the Wall Street meltdown has aggravated underemployment, depleted public services, and sharpened racial and class inequalities.
The authors insist that the current U.S. approach puts Americans out of work and lowers the standard of living for all. As such, Goldsmith and Blakely urge the Obama administration to create better urban policy and foster better metropolitan management to effectively and efficiently promote equality.
Drawing on an assessment of eighty small cities between 1970 and 2000, Norman considers the factors that have altered the physical, social, and economic landscapes of such places. These cities are examined in relation to new patterns of immigration, shifts in the global economy, and changing residential preferences. Small Cities USA presents the first large-scale comparison of smaller cities over time in the United States, showing that small cities that have prospered over time have done so because of diverse populations and economies. These "glocal" cities, as Norman calls them, are doing well without necessarily growing into large metropolises.
A landmark in contemporary social science, this pioneering work by Thomas Piketty explains the facts and dynamics of income inequality in France in the twentieth century. On its publication in French in 2001, it helped launch the international program led by Piketty and others to explore the grand patterns and causes of global inequality—research that has since transformed public debate. Appearing here in English for the first time, this stunning achievement will take its place alongside Capital in the Twenty-First Century as a modern classic of economic analysis.Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century is essential in part because of Piketty’s unprecedented efforts to uncover, untangle, and present in clear form data about patterns in tax and inheritance in France dating back to 1900. But it is also an exceptional work of analysis, tracking and explaining with Piketty’s characteristically lucid prose the effects of political conflict, war, and social change on the economic pressures and public policies that determined the lives of millions. A work of unusual intellectual power and ambition, Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century is a vital resource for anyone concerned with the economic, political, and social history of France, and it is central to ongoing debates about social justice, inequality, taxation, and the evolution of capitalism around the world.
Hava Rachel Gordon compares the struggles and successes of two very different youth movements: a mostly white, middle-class youth activist network in Portland, Oregon, and a working-class network of minority youth in Oakland, California. She examines how these young activists navigate schools, families, community organizations, and the mainstream media, and employ a variety of strategies to make their voices heard on some of today's most pressing issuesùwar, school funding, the environmental crisis, the prison industrial complex, standardized testing, corporate accountability, and educational reform. We Fight to Win is one of the first books to focus on adolescence and political action and deftly explore the ways that the politics of youth activism are structured by age inequality as well as race, class, and gender.
In a deeply unequal world, our economic status shapes our pursuit of virtue whether we have enough resources to live comfortably or struggle to survive
Our understanding of inequality as a moral problem is incomplete. It is not enough to say that inequality is caused by moral failing. We must also see that influence runs in both directions. Inequality harms people’s moral development.
In Wealth, Virtue, and Moral Luck, Kate Ward addresses the issue of inequality from the perspective of Christian virtue ethics, arguing that moral luck—our individual life circumstances—affects our ability to pursue virtue. Economic status functions as moral luck and impedes the ability of both the wealthy and the poor to pursue virtues such as prudence, justice, and temperance, and extreme inequality exacerbates the impact of wealth and poverty on virtue.
With these realities in mind, Ward shows how Christians and Christian communities should respond to the challenges inequality poses to virtue. Through working to change the structures that perpetuate extreme inequality—and through spiritual practices, including contentment, conversion, encountering others, and reminding ourselves of our ultimate dependence on God—Ward believes that we can create a world where all people can pursue and achieve virtue.
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