Synopses & Reviews
"Everyone concerned about the toxic effects of inequality must read this book." — Robert B. Reich
"This is one of the most thought-provoking books I have read on economic inequality in the US." — William Julius Wilson
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.
About the Author
Stephen S. Schneider is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He was honored in 1992 with a MacArthur Fellowship for his ability to integrate and interpret the results of global climate research through public lectures, seminars, classroom teaching, environmental assessment committees, media appearances, Congressional testimony, and research collaboration with colleagues. He has authored The Genesis Strategy: Climate and Global Survival; The Coevolution of Climate and Life; Global Warming: Are We Entering the Greenhouse Century?; Scientists on Gaia; and over two hundred scientific papers, reviews, and editorials.
Thomas Shapiro on PowellsBooks.Blog
I didn’t fully know what I was getting into when, in 1998, I started interviewing families with young children about their finances and how money was shaping their hopes and plans. I wanted to learn how wealth influences vital family choices, and how assets affect families’ capacity for economic mobility...