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Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy

by Peter Temin The MIT Press
Pub Date:
01/2018
ISBN:
9780262535298
Format:
Pbk 288 pages
Price:
AU$36.99 NZ$39.12
Product Status: In Stock Now
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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. He 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.


 


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.”


Politicians also 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. An epilogue, new to the paperback edition, addresses the ways in which the Trump administration continues


this pattern of inequality.
Peter Temin is Professor of Economics Emeritus at MIT. He is the coauthor of Keynes: Useful Economics for the World Economy (MIT Press) and of The Leaderless Economy.