Lists and Suggestions
List: Economic Justice
Dignity : seeking respect in back row America
"Widely acclaimed photographer and writer Chris Arnade shines new light on America's poor... More
"Widely acclaimed photographer and writer Chris Arnade shines new light on America's poor, drug-addicted, and forgotten--both urban and rural, blue state and red state--and indicts the elitists who've left them behind. Like Jacob Riis in the 1890s, Walker Evans in the 1930s, or Michael Harrington in the 1960s, Chris Arnade bares the reality of our current class divide in stark pictures and unforgettable true stories. Arnade's raw, deeply reported accounts cut through today's clickbait media headlines and indict the elitists who misunderstood poverty and addiction in America for decades. After abandoning his Wall Street career, Arnade decided to document poverty and addiction in the Bronx. He began interviewing, photographing, and becoming close friends with homeless addicts, and spent hours in drug dens and McDonald's. Then he started driving across America to see how the rest of the country compared. He found the same types of stories everywhere, across lines of race, ethnicity, religion, and geography. The people he got to know, from Alabama and California to Maine and Nevada, gave Arnade a new respect for the dignity and resilience of what he calls America's Back Row--those who lack the credentials and advantages of the so-called meritocratic upper class. The strivers in the Front Row, with their advanced degrees and upward mobility, see the Back Row's values as worthless. They scorn anyone who stays in a dying town or city as foolish, and mock anyone who clings to religion or tradition as naive. As Takeesha, a woman in the Bronx, told Arnade, she wants to be seen she sees herself: "a prostitute, a mother of six, and a child of God." This book is his attempt to help the rest of us truly see, hear, and respect millions of people who've been left behind"-- Less
Economics : the user's guide
"Unlike many economists, who present only one view of their discipline, Chang introduces a wid... More
"Unlike many economists, who present only one view of their discipline, Chang introduces a wide range of economic theories, from classical to Keynesian, revealing how each has its strengths and weaknesses, and why there is no one way to explain economic behavior. Instead, by ignoring the received wisdom and exposing the myriad forces that shape our financial world, Chang gives us the tools we need to understand our increasingly global and interconnected world often driven by economics. From the future of the Euro, inequality in China, or the condition of the American manufacturing industry here in the United States--Economics: The User's Guide is a concise and expertly crafted guide to economic fundamentals that offers a clear and accurate picture of the global economy and how and why it affects our daily lives" -- Less
Evicted : poverty and profit in the American city
"[The author] takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight ... More
"[The author] takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the 20 dollars a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind. The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, "Love don't pay the bills." She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas. Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America's vast inequality-- and to people's determination and intelligence in the face of hardship. Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible"--Amazon.com. Less
How the other half banks : exclusion, exploitation, and the threat to democracy
Baradaran, Mehrsa, 1978- author.
"The United States has two separate banking systems today -- one serving the well-to-do and an... More
"The United States has two separate banking systems today -- one serving the well-to-do and another exploiting everyone else. How the Other Half Banks contributes to the growing conversation on American inequality by highlighting one of its prime causes: unequal credit. Mehrsa Baradaran examines how a significant portion of the population, deserted by banks, is forced to wander through a Wild West of payday lenders and check-cashing services to cover emergency expenses and pay for necessities -- all thanks to deregulation that began in the 1970s and continues decades later. In an age of corporate megabanks with trillions of dollars in assets, it is easy to forget that America's banking system was originally created as a public service. Banks have always relied on credit from the federal government, provided on favorable terms so that they could issue low-interest loans. But as banks grew in size and political influence, they shed their social contract with the American people, demanding to be treated as a private industry free from any public-serving responsibility. They abandoned less profitable, low-income customers in favor of wealthier clients and high-yield investments. Fringe lenders stepped in to fill the void. This two-tier banking system has become even more unequal since the 2008 financial crisis. Baradaran proposes a solution: reenlisting the U.S. Post Office in its historic function of providing bank services. The post office played an important but largely forgotten role in the creation of American democracy, and it could be deployed again to level the field of financial opportunity." -- Book jacket. Less
Justice : what's the right thing to do?
Sandel, Michael J.
Popular Harvard professor Michael Sandel offers a searching, lyrical exploration of the meaning of ... More
Popular Harvard professor Michael Sandel offers a searching, lyrical exploration of the meaning of justice that considers familiar controversies such as affirmative action, same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide, abortion, national service, patriotism and dissent, and the moral limits of markets in fresh and illuminating ways. Less
Nickel and dimed : on (not) getting by in America
null ... More
Nobody : casualties of America's war on the vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and beyond
Hill, Marc Lamont, author.
Unarmed citizens shot by police. Drinking water turned to poison. Mass incarcerations. We've he... More
Unarmed citizens shot by police. Drinking water turned to poison. Mass incarcerations. We've heard the individual stories. Now a leading public intellectual and acclaimed journalist offers a powerful, paradigm-shifting analysis of America's current state of emergency, finding in these events a larger and more troubling truth about race, class, and what it means to be "Nobody." Less
Of blood and sweat : Black lives and the making of White power and wealth / Clyde W. Ford.
Ford, Clyde W., author.
"Of Blood and Sweat: Black Lives and the Genesis of White Power and Wealth tells the story of h... More
"Of Blood and Sweat: Black Lives and the Genesis of White Power and Wealth tells the story of how Black lives and labor created White power and wealth in agriculture, politics, jurisprudence, law enforcement, culture, medicine, financial services, and other fields. Through the lives of individual Black men and women a deeper understanding unravels of the role Blacks played, directly and indirectly, in creating American institutions of power and wealth-while never allowed full participation. Today, activists have taken the struggle for racial equity and justice to the streets. Of Blood and Sweat depicts this struggle from pre-colonial Africa through post-Civil War America and a consistent theme emerges: Trace the history of almost any major American institution of power and wealth and you'll find it was created by Black Americans, or created to control them. Painstakingly researched, and comprehensively documented, Of Blood and Sweat is a compelling look at the past with broad implications for present-day calls for racial equity, racial justice, and the abolishment of systemic racism"-- Provided by publisher. Less
Race for profit : how banks and the real estate industry undermined Black homeownership
Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta, author.
"Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor offers a ... chronicle of the twilight of redlining and the introduct... More
"Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor offers a ... chronicle of the twilight of redlining and the introduction of conventional real estate practices into the Black urban market, uncovering a transition from racist exclusion to predatory inclusion. Widespread access to mortgages across the United States after World War II cemented homeownership as fundamental to conceptions of citizenship and belonging. African Americans had long faced racist obstacles to homeownership, but the social upheaval of the 1960s forced federal government reforms. In the 1970s, new housing policies encouraged African Americans to become homeowners, and these programs generated unprecedented real estate sales in Black urban communities. However, inclusion in the world of urban real estate was fraught with new problems. As new housing policies came into effect, the real estate industry abandoned its aversion to African Americans, especially Black women, precisely because they were more likely to fail to keep up their home payments and slip into foreclosure"-- Less
Reproducing racism : how everyday choices lock in white advantage
Roithmayr, Daria, author.
"This book is designed to change the way we think about racial inequality. Long after the pass... More
"This book is designed to change the way we think about racial inequality. Long after the passage of civil rights laws and now the inauguration of our first black president, blacks and Latinos possess barely a nickel of wealth for every dollar that whites have. Why have we made so little progress? Legal scholar Daria Roithmayr provocatively argues that racial inequality lives on because white advantage functions as a powerful self-reinforcing monopoly, reproducing itself automatically from generation to generation even in the absence of intentional discrimination. Drawing on work in antitrust law and a range of other disciplines, Roithmayr brilliantly compares the dynamics of white advantage to the unfair tactics of giants like AT & T and Microsoft. With penetrating insight, Roithmayr locates the engine of white monopoly in positive feedback loops that connect the dramatic disparity of Jim Crow to modern racial gaps in jobs, housing and education. Wealthy white neighborhoods fund public schools that then turn out wealthy white neighbors. Whites with lucrative jobs informally refer their friends, who refer their friends, and so on. Roithmayr concludes that racial inequality might now be locked in place, unless policymakers immediately take drastic steps to dismantle this oppressive system. Daria Roithmayr is the George T. and Harriet E. Pfleger Professor of Law at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. An internationally acclaimed legal scholar and activist, she is one of the country's leading voices on the legal analysis of structural racial inequality. Prior to joining USC, Professor Roithmayr advised Senator Edward Kennedy on the nominations of Clarence Thomas and David Souter, and taught law at the University of Illinois"-- Less
The color of money : Black banks and the racial wealth gap
Baradaran, Mehrsa, 1978- author.
"When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, the black community owned less than on... More
"When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, the black community owned less than one percent of the United States' total wealth. More than 150 years later, that number has barely budged. The Color of Money pursues the persistence of this racial wealth gap by focusing on the generators of wealth in the black community: black banks. Studying these institutions over time, Mehrsa Baradaran challenges the myth that black communities could ever accumulate wealth in a segregated economy. Instead, housing segregation, racism, and Jim Crow credit policies created an inescapable, but hard to detect, economic trap for black communities and their banks. The Catch-22 of black banking is that the very institutions needed to help communities escape the deep poverty caused by discrimination and segregation inevitably became victims of that same poverty. Not only could black banks not "control the black dollar" due to the dynamics of bank depositing and lending but they drained black capital into white banks, leaving the black economy with the scraps. Baradaran challenges the long-standing notion that black banking and community self-help is the solution to the racial wealth gap. These initiatives have functioned as a potent political decoy to avoid more fundamental reforms and racial redress. Examining the fruits of past policies and the operation of banking in a segregated economy, she makes clear that only bolder, more realistic views of banking's relation to black communities will end the cycle of poverty and promote black wealth."--Jacket. Less
The sum of us : what racism costs everyone and how we can prosper together
McGhee, Heather C., author.
"Heather C. McGhee's specialty is the American economy--and the mystery of why it so ofte... More
"Heather C. McGhee's specialty is the American economy--and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. As she dug into subject after subject, from the financial crisis to declining wages to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a common problem at the bottom of them all: racism--but not just in the obvious ways that hurt people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It's the common denominator in our most vexing public problems, even beyond our economy. It is at the core of the dysfunction of our democracy and even the spiritual and moral crises that grip us. Racism is a toxin in the American body and it weakens us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out? To find the way, McGhee embarks on a deeply personal journey across the country from Mississippi to Maine, tallying up what we lose when we buy into the zero-sum paradigm--the idea that progress for some of us must come at the expense of others. Along the way, she collects the stories of white people who confide in her about losing their homes, their dreams and their shot at a better job to the toxic mix of American racism and greed. This is the story of how public goods in this country--from parks and pools to functioning schools--have become private luxuries; of how unions collapsed, wages stagnated, and inequality increased; and of how this country, unique among the world's advanced economies, has thwarted universal healthcare. It's why we fail to prevent environmental and public health crises that require collective action. But in unlikely places of worship and work, McGhee also finds proof of what she calls the Solidarity Dividend: gains that come when people come together across race, to the benefit of all involved"-- Less
To the promised land : Martin Luther King and the fight for economic justice
Honey, Michael K., author.
"Fifty years ago, a single bullet robbed us of one of the world's most eloquent voices fo... More
"Fifty years ago, a single bullet robbed us of one of the world's most eloquent voices for human rights and justice. [This book] goes beyond the iconic view of Martin Luther King Jr. as an advocate of racial harmony, to explore his profound commitment to the poor and working class and his call for "nonviolent resistance" to all forms of oppression--including the economic injustice that "takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes." Phase one of King's agenda led to the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. But King also questioned what good it does a man to "eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn't earn enough money to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee?" In phase two of his activism, King organized poor people and demonstrated for union rights, while also seeking a "moral revolution" to replace the self-seeking individualism of the rich along with an overriding concern for the common good. "Either we go up together or we go down together," King cautioned, a message just as urgent in America today as then. To the Promised Land challenges us to think about what it would mean to truly fulfill King's legacy and move toward his vision of "the Promised Land" in our own time."--Dust jacket. Less
Toxic inequality : how America's wealth gap destroys mobility, deepens the racial divide, & threatens our future
Shapiro, Thomas M., author.
"Since the Great Recession, most Americans' standard of living has stagnated or declined.... More
"Since the Great Recession, most Americans' standard of living has stagnated or declined. Economic inequality is at historic highs. But inequality's impact differs by race; African Americans' net wealth is just a tenth that of white Americans, and over recent decades, white families have accumulated wealth at three times the rate of black families. In our increasingly diverse nation, sociologist Thomas M. Shapiro argues, wealth disparities must be understood in tandem with racial inequities--a dangerous combination he terms "toxic inequality." In Toxic Inequality, Shapiro reveals how these forces combine to trap families in place. Following nearly two hundred families of different races and income levels over a period of twelve years, Shapiro's research vividly documents the recession's toll on parents and children, the ways families use assets to manage crises and create opportunities, and the real reasons some families build wealth while others struggle in poverty. The structure of our neighborhoods, workplaces, and tax code--much more than individual choices--push some forward and hold others back. A lack of assets, far more common in families of color, can often ruin parents' careful plans for themselves and their children. Toxic inequality may seem inexorable, but it is not inevitable. America's growing wealth gap and its yawning racial divide have been forged by history and preserved by policy, and only bold, race-conscious reforms can move us toward a more just society."--Publisher's description. Less
Winners take all : the elite charade of changing the world
Giridharadas, Anand, author.
The New York Times bestselling, groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite's efforts ... More
The New York Times bestselling, groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite's efforts to "change the world" preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve. An essential read for understanding some of the egregious abuses of power that dominate today's news. Less
The Whiteness of wealth : how the tax system impoverishes Black Americans--and how we can fix it
"An exposé of racism in the American taxation system from a law professor and expert on tax p... More
"An exposé of racism in the American taxation system from a law professor and expert on tax policy. Dorothy A. Brown became a tax lawyer to get away from race. As a young black girl growing up in the South Bronx, she'd seen how racism limited the lives of her family and neighbors. Her law school classes offered a refreshing contrast: tax law was about numbers, and the only color that mattered was green. But when Brown sat down to prepare tax returns for her parents, she found something strange: James and Dottie Brown, a plumber and a nurse, seemed to be paying an unusually high percentage of their income in taxes. When Brown became a law professor, she set out to understand why. In The Whiteness of Wealth, Brown draws on decades of cross-disciplinary research to show that tax law isn't as color-blind as she'd once believed. She takes us into her adopted city of Atlanta, introducing us to families across the economic spectrum whose stories demonstrate how American tax law rewards the preferences and practices of white people while pushing black people further behind. From attending college to getting married to buying a home, black Americans find themselves at a financial disadvantage compared to their white peers. The results are an ever-increasing wealth gap and more black families shut out of the American dream. Solving the problem will require a wholesale rethinking of America's tax code. But it will also require both black and white Americans to make different choices. This actionable book points the way forward" Less