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Unjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance

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Unjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance Cover

ISBN13: 9781595584021
ISBN10: 1595584021
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Why most of the wealth that is earned comes in the form of a "free lunch" — and why, logically, we must give most of it back to society as a result.

Warren Buffett is worth nearly $50 billion. Does he "deserve" all this money? Buffett himself will tell you that "society is responsible for a very significant percentage of what I've earned."

Unjust Deserts offers an entirely new approach to the wealth question. In a lively synthesis of modern economic, technological, and cultural research, Gar Alperovitz and Lew Daly demonstrate that up to 90 percent (and perhaps more) of current economic output derives not from individual ingenuity, effort, or investment but from our collective inheritance of scientific and technological knowledge: an inheritance we all receive as a "free lunch."

Alperovitz and Daly then pursue the implications of this research, persuasively arguing that there is no reason any one person should be entitled to that inheritance. Recognizing the true dimensions of our unearned inheritance leads inevitably to a new and powerful moral case for wealth redistribution — and to a series of practical policies to achieve it in an era when the disparities have become untenable.

Review:

"Riddled with references to economists John Stuart Mill and Adam Smith, this book reads more like an academic treatise than an appeal aimed at the general public. Alperovitz (America Beyond Capitalism) and Daly (God and the Welfare State) make the provocative argument that if today's worker is more productive and his methods are more extensive, it's due to the accumulation of hundreds of years of work done by previous generations. Modern engineers, for example, are only more productive because they build on the design problems solved during the past century. Since a society shares a history, the authors contend, we should all reap the benefits of this progress and the wealth accumulated by it; the reality, of course, is a grave disparity in wealth and resources. Alperovitz has written several works used as textbooks in economics courses (Atomic Diplomacy), but this work lacks the readability necessary for mainstream audiences-the very audience that the author should have appealed to." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Their timely, deftly argued book redefines our vision of the common good." Jacob S. Hacker, Professor of Political Science, Yale University

Review:

"Unjust Deserts reveals the untold story of wealth creation in our time." Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, and Chuck Collins, director of Inequality and the Common Good

Review:

"The viewpoint presented in this important and provocative book should alter the current public discourse on income distribution." Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics, 1972

Review:

"[D]eeply informed and carefully argued study of the social and historical factors that enter into creative achievement." Noam Chomsky

About the Author

Gar Alperovitz is the Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland. His previous books include The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and America Beyond Capitalism. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Lew Daly is a senior fellow at Demos and the author of God and the Welfare State. He lives in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Lorian, January 17, 2009 (view all comments by Lorian)
I like it, but, if you write a book that attacks the rich, then you become rich from selling the book, what does that make you? A hybrid? Oh, the conundrum.

I do appreciate their shining that scapegoat spotlight off of the welfare mothers, off of the immigrants, and right back onto the thieves who really are responsible for the magnitude of struggle and deprivation the vast majority of us have somehow survived all these years. Ha!

p.s. What do you call Barbara Ehrenreich slumming it for the expose? Faux Po.
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verax, December 24, 2008 (view all comments by verax)
If the lowly can see the obvious--that manipulating the product of others' work and creativity is a rake-off, not a contribution--it must be a general truth. From this viewpoint, the book is just a tentative club-member insight that still falls so far short of actual truth that it is important to only the club.

Also, the idea that individuals have a right to set themselves up as indirect owners and sellers of resources--Enron "trading" energy, for instance--has been addressed by more responsible individuals like Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, among many, and is generally questioned now by everyone but people whose incomes are linked to the idea.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781595584021
Author:
Gar Alperovitz and Lew Daly
Publisher:
New Press
Author:
Alperovitz, Gar
Author:
Daly, Lew
Subject:
Inheritance and succession
Subject:
Wealth
Subject:
Economics - Macroeconomics
Subject:
Social classes
Subject:
Economic History
Subject:
General Business & Economics
Subject:
Income distribution -- United States.
Subject:
Industrial productivity -- United States.
Subject:
Economics - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20081131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
230
Dimensions:
8 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Business » History and Biographies
Featured Titles » History and Social Science
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Economics » US Economy
History and Social Science » Sociology » Social Classes

Unjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance Used Hardcover
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$16.95 In Stock
Product details 230 pages Norton - English 9781595584021 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Riddled with references to economists John Stuart Mill and Adam Smith, this book reads more like an academic treatise than an appeal aimed at the general public. Alperovitz (America Beyond Capitalism) and Daly (God and the Welfare State) make the provocative argument that if today's worker is more productive and his methods are more extensive, it's due to the accumulation of hundreds of years of work done by previous generations. Modern engineers, for example, are only more productive because they build on the design problems solved during the past century. Since a society shares a history, the authors contend, we should all reap the benefits of this progress and the wealth accumulated by it; the reality, of course, is a grave disparity in wealth and resources. Alperovitz has written several works used as textbooks in economics courses (Atomic Diplomacy), but this work lacks the readability necessary for mainstream audiences-the very audience that the author should have appealed to." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Their timely, deftly argued book redefines our vision of the common good."
"Review" by , "Unjust Deserts reveals the untold story of wealth creation in our time." Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, and Chuck Collins, director of Inequality and the Common Good
"Review" by , "The viewpoint presented in this important and provocative book should alter the current public discourse on income distribution."
"Review" by , "[D]eeply informed and carefully argued study of the social and historical factors that enter into creative achievement."
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