TIMOTHY NOAH / THE GREAT DIVERGENCE: America's Growing Inequality
"An important, exemplary, and finally passionate work of long-form journalism" -- Hendrik Hertzberg
How did "the 1 percent" pull away from "the 99 percent"? A probing and provocative exploration of income inequality in America, and the dangers it poses to our democracy.
For the past three decades, America has steadily become a nation of haves and have-nots. Our incomes are, increasingly, drastically unequal: the top 1% of Americans collect almost 20% of the nation's incomemore than double their share in 1973. We have less equality of income than Venezuela, Kenya, or Yemen.
What economics Nobelist Paul Krugman terms "the Great Divergence" has until now been treated as little more than a talking point, a club to be wielded in ideological battles. But it may be the most important change in this country during our lifetimesa sharp, fundamental shift in the character of American society, and not at all for the better.
The income gap has been blamed on everything from computers to immigration, but its causes and consequences call for a patient, non-partisan exploration. In The Great Divergence, based on his award-winning series of articles in Slate, Timothy Noah delivers this urgently needed inquiry, ignoring political rhetoric and drawing on the best work of contemporary researchers to peer beyond conventional wisdom. Noah explains not only how the Great Divergence has come about, but why it threatens American democracyand most important, how we can begin to reverse it.
Coming fast on the heels of the Occupy Wall Street movement and at the start of a presidential election year when inequality will be front and center, The Great Divergence is a vitally necessary primer, history, and manifesto that will inform and drive a long-overdue political debate.
"This is the book the 99% has been waiting for. Crisply lucid and brilliantly argued, THE GREAT DIVERGENCE manages to entertain at the same time that it explains. Best of all, Noah offers some strikingly sensible steps to undo the economic polarization that is tearing America apart."
-- Barbara Ehrenreich
Timothy Noah was recently named "TRB", the lead columnist at The New Republic. He wrote for Slate for a dozen years, and previously served at the Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, and the Washington Monthly. He edited two collections of the writings of his late wife, Marjorie Williams, including the New York Times bestseller The Woman at the Washington Zoo. Noah received the 2011 Hillman Prize, the highest award for public service magazine journalism, for the series (of which Nicholas Kristof wrote in the NYT, "An excellent series") in Slate that forms the basis of The Great Divergence.
Tim talks this evening with Brad DeLong, professor of economics at U.C. Berkeley, chair of the Political Economy of Industrial Societies major, and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was educated at Harvard University, where he received his PhD in 1987. He joined UC Berkeley as an associate professor in 1993. He became a full professor in 1997. Professor DeLong also served in the U.S. government as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy from 1993 to 1995. He worked on the Clinton Administration's 1993 budget, on the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, on the North American Free Trade Agreement, on macroeconomic policy, and on the unsuccessful health care reform effort. Before joining the Treasury Department, Professor DeLong was Danziger Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at Harvard University. He has also been a John M. Olin Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, an Assistant Professor of Economics at Boston University, and a Lecturer in the Department of Economics at M.I.T.
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