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Down the Up Escalator: How the 99 Percent Live in the Great Recessionby Barbara Garson
Synopses & Reviews
One of our most incisive and committed journalists—author of the classic All the Livelong Day—shows us the real human cost of our economic follies.
The Great Recession has thrown huge economic chal­lenges at almost all Americans save the super-affluent few, and we are only now beginning to reckon up the human toll it is taking. Down the Up Escalator is an urgent dispatch from the front lines of our vast collective struggle to keep our heads above water and maybe even—someday—get ahead. Garson has interviewed an economically and geographically wide variety of Americans to show the pain­ful waste in all this loss and insecurity, and describe how individuals are coping. Her broader historical focus, though, is on the causes and consequences of the long stag­nation of wages and how it has resulted in an increasingly desperate reliance on credit and a series of ever-larger bubbles—stocks, technology, real estate. This is no way to run an economy, or a democracy.
From the members of the Pink Slip Club in New York, to a California home health-care aide on the eve of eviction, to a subprime mortgage broker who still thinks it could have worked, Down the Up Escalator presents a sobering picture of what happens to a society when it becomes economically organized to benefit only the very rich and the quick-buck speculators. But it also demonstrates the wit and resilience of ordinary Americans—and why they deserve so much better than the hand theyve been dealt.
About the Author
BARBARA GARSON is an award-winning play­wright, journalist, and the author of three books, All the Livelong Day: The Meaning and Demeaning of Routine Work, The Electronic Sweatshop, and most recently Money Makes the World Go Around: One Investor Tracks Her Cash Through the Global Economy. Her play MacBird was the literary open­ing shot of the sixties, and The Dinosaur Door won an Obie. Her writing has appeared in Harpers, The New York Times, Newsweek, and The Nation.
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