The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy

By Peter Temin
Read by Stephen R. Thorne

7.35 Hours 03/03/2017 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (16Tracks)
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The United States is becoming a nation of rich and poor, with few families in the middle. In this book, MIT economist Peter Temin offers an illuminating way to look at the vanishing middle class. Temin argues that American history and politics, particularly slavery and its aftermath, play an important part in the widening gap between rich and poor. Temin employs a well-known, simple model of a dual economy to examine the dynamics of the rich–poor divide in America and outlines ways to work toward greater equality so that America will no longer have one economy for the rich and one for the poor. Many poorer Americans live in conditions resembling those of a developing country: substandard education, dilapidated housing, and few stable employment opportunities. And although almost half of black Americans are poor, most poor people are not black. Conservative white politicians still appeal to the racism of poor white voters to get support for policies that harm low-income people as a whole, casting recipients of social programs as the other—black, Latino, not like “us.” Moreover, politicians use mass incarceration as a tool to keep black and Latino Americans from participating fully in society. Money goes to a vast entrenched prison system rather than to education. In the dual justice system, the rich pay fines and the poor go to jail.

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Summary

Summary

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

The United States is becoming a nation of rich and poor, with few families in the middle. In this book, MIT economist Peter Temin offers an illuminating way to look at the vanishing middle class.

Temin argues that American history and politics, particularly slavery and its aftermath, play an important part in the widening gap between rich and poor. Temin employs a well-known, simple model of a dual economy to examine the dynamics of the rich–poor divide in America and outlines ways to work toward greater equality so that America will no longer have one economy for the rich and one for the poor.

Many poorer Americans live in conditions resembling those of a developing country: substandard education, dilapidated housing, and few stable employment opportunities. And although almost half of black Americans are poor, most poor people are not black. Conservative white politicians still appeal to the racism of poor white voters to get support for policies that harm low-income people as a whole, casting recipients of social programs as the other—black, Latino, not like “us.” Moreover, politicians use mass incarceration as a tool to keep black and Latino Americans from participating fully in society. Money goes to a vast entrenched prison system rather than to education. In the dual justice system, the rich pay fines and the poor go to jail.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“The mildly cheery tone in Stephen Thorne’s performance helps the medicine go down in this astute and timely overview of why our rich and poor are so economically divided. Along with effortless-sounding enunciation and phrasing, his narration has a personality that connects with the author’s progressive ideals without discernible outrage or hectoring. The author…lays out the problems and solutions with clarity and equanimity—all of which is furthered by the Thorne’s excellent reading. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.” AudioFile
“If you had to read only one book on the growing crisis, The Vanishing Middle Class is it. Its powerful combination of race and class analysis doesn’t hold back any punches in exposing the deliberate and systematic exploitation of the poor and the racialized by a minority of wealthy and mostly white elites in today’s America.” PopMatters
Part social commentary, part history, part academic inquiry, Temin’s book tells us how the two parts of the modern dual economy can be glued back together.” Claudia Goldin, professor of economics, Harvard University
“Arguing that the high-wage sector promotes inequality and deterioration of the middle class through its disproportionate influence on political decision making in various areas such as criminal justice, education, and social welfare policy, The Vanishing Middle Class is a significant addition to the existing literature on inequality.” Gerald Jaynes professor, Department of Economics and African American Studies, Yale University

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Peter Temin

Peter Temin is professor emeritus of economics at MIT. He is the coauthor of The Leaderless Economy and Keynes: Useful Economics for the World Economy

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/Business & Economics
Runtime: 7.35
Audience: Adult
Language: English