Ken-Hou Lin and Megan Tobias Neely's new book Divested: Inequality in the Age of Finance (Oxford University Press, 2020) explores the rise of finance in American life over the last forty years and its implications for American workers, families, and economies. The authors argue that finance has transformed from a servant to the economy to its master - from a means of creating a prosperous society to an end in itself. The consequences of this shift are profound: the authors identify the many ways finance is implicated in the yawning growth in inequality in the US and how a financialized society redistributes resources from working people to owners, executives, and financial professionals. Using historical analysis, quantitative and qualitative data, the book offers a clear, comprehensive, and compelling account of one of the most important economic developments of our time.
Patrick Sheenan is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas, Austin.