A Political History of American Inequality
Institute for Policy Studies 2013
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Big IdeasNew Books in EconomicsNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books Network June 25, 2013 Marshall Poe
Americans seem to be more concerned about economic inequality today than they have been in living memory. The Occupy Movement (“We are the 99%”) is only the most visible sign of this growing unease. But what are the dimensions of inequality in the United States? How have they changed over the past century? Are we living in a new Gilded Age in which the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer?
In his “book” (it’s really an innovative website) Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality (Institute for Policy Studies, 2013), Colin Gordon sets out to answer these questions. Using an interesting array of charts, graphs, and videos, Gordon tells the story of inequality in the U.S. in modern times. Gordon shows that in recent decades the poor have been getting relatively poorer and the rich have been getting relatively richer. The “gap”–already considerable–is growing.
In this interview we discuss growing inequality and the reasons behind it. We also touch on what is perhaps the most important question in the debate: does inequality as it is found in the U.S. really matter economically, spiritually, and politically?