BOSTON - November 2 -
You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy. But you cannot have both. –Louis Brandeis
The recent horrors in the Gulf Coast have brought to the forefront the ever-increasing economic inequality growing in America. It brings to mind Kerner Commission’s description of America: “Two Americas – separate and unequal.” What the Kerner Commission said about black and white Americans in 1968 now describes the growing economic divide between those benefiting from the record-setting growth economy and those left out of the boom.
In ECONOMIC APARTHEID IN AMERICA: A PRIMER ON ECONOMIC INEQUALITY AND INSECURITY (The New Press; October 31, 2005; $18.95), Chuck Collins and Felice Yeskel point out the contrast between skyrocketing CEO pay and more billionaires at the top, and the growing ranks of the working poor, uninsured and homeless at the bottom. In between, families who think of themselves as middle class have less security than their equivalents of 30 years ago, as rising personal debt, more expensive housing, and higher college costs squeeze their budgets.
Collins and Yeskel argue persuasively that these increased levels of inequality in income, wages, wealth and power are in fact creating an apartheid society, not just economically but racially as well. They show how these rules – including tax, global trade, monetary and budget policy, campaign finance, wage-setting practices, and business regulations – can be changed to benefit low-wage workers and others left out of the boom. After all, the crucial values of an economy should be organized around supporting families and strengthening communities.
ECONOMIC APARTHEID IN AMERICA seeks to answer the following questions:
Why should we care about inequality?
What is the inequality picture?
What has caused the growth of inequality?
What can we do to change it?
Collins and Yeskel call for a broad social movement to prevent “economic apartheid,” and profile 70 organizations now bringing such a movement into being. ECONOMIC APARTHEID IN AMERICA provides us with the tools to participate in creating a fairer economy for everyone by laying the groundwork for broader discussions about alternatives to unbridled free-market capitalism.
About the Authors
Chuck Collins is a Senior Fellow at United for a Fair Economy and Class Action, and the author of several books. Felice Yeskel is the co-director of Class Action and a faculty member in the Social Justice Education Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. They are co-founders of United for a Fair Economy and Responsible Wealth, and live in Massachusetts.
ECONOMIC APARTHEID IN AMERICA:
A PRIMER ON ECONOMIC INEQUALITY AND INSECURITY
By Chuck Collins and Felice Yeskel
The New Press / October 31, 2005
Paperback / $18.95 / 272 pp.