web site hit counter The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

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

Availability: Ready to download

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-kno 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.


Compare

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-kno 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.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    JP

    Applying the Lewis Model to the US domestic economy is brilliant. I haven't come across an econ book rooted in theory that made me smile this much since I was handed selections from Manning Marable's work on domestic imperialism (creating third world nations within 1st world nations, in order to extract value and provide captive markets for the metropolitan centers). In the 3rd and 4th chapters, Temin describes the connection between race and class, of course focusing on the racial history of the Applying the Lewis Model to the US domestic economy is brilliant. I haven't come across an econ book rooted in theory that made me smile this much since I was handed selections from Manning Marable's work on domestic imperialism (creating third world nations within 1st world nations, in order to extract value and provide captive markets for the metropolitan centers). In the 3rd and 4th chapters, Temin describes the connection between race and class, of course focusing on the racial history of the United States without forgetting that class is the major divider in American life. He then brings in both issues of social capital (that our networks are themselves value, and that poor people have less effective social and professional networks than the wealthy) and the need for higher education. Despite a lower class need, both the poor and minorities (who are often the same people) are unduly burdened by a system crafted by the FTE sector (or Capitalists) to make success difficult for the poor. The Investment Theory of Politics *really* boosts Temin's central argument, and in dramatic fashion. As opposed to the idea of the "median voter" making a "rational choice", The Investment Theory points instead to politics as marketing - a description that seems new to some who focus on policy but makes intuitive sense to everyone else. Basically we've been sold on the ideas of the rich, by the rich, for the rich. One of the biggest segues I'm seeing here is that this view of politics is inherently critical of the Capitalist system, even without saying so. I mean, it's putting a moderate twist on what Communists have literally said for decades - the Bourgeoisie (see: upper class; see: FTE sector) defends its class privilege by shaping people's perception of the world through "free media" (see: self-interested bourge propaganda), while securing their domination at the proles' expense. When Temin gets around to discussing the different types of government, this is another shining (if historically over-covered) area. We see basically that the best form of government for the country is democracy, and we are increasingly becoming the exact opposite of that. We are a plutocracy (oligarchy of the wealthy), and Temin argues we are rapidly approaching an autocracy (dictatorship of a family-sized group). Again - the dictatorship of Capital is illustrated here to great effect. He then goes on to give examples not only of the inability to cross into the privileged class, but of the havoc that this class wreaks on the proletariat (though he simply calls them the poorer citizens). From housing to education to poisonous water supplies to crippling debt to expropriation to disenfranchisement, the proles suffer. I think some concepts may be overdone if you've read up on the subject matter before, but I really loved the application of the Lewis Model here, so 5 stars it is.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emma Sea

    NTS: not in library, and $17 on kindle. The reviews don't seem good enough to spend that kind of $$ on it NTS: not in library, and $17 on kindle. The reviews don't seem good enough to spend that kind of $$ on it

  3. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Ray

    This review https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspec... says the author believes that the 20% of Americans who've been cut in on the deal--those with still-good jobs in tech and finance, are the decision-makers who're keeping the 80% down. No. It's the .1% who control vast wealth who alone have a seat at the decision-making table. Also the author, an academic economist, believes we could all educate ourselves into good jobs. Nonsense. However educated we all are, most of us have to do work that's n This review https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspec... says the author believes that the 20% of Americans who've been cut in on the deal--those with still-good jobs in tech and finance, are the decision-makers who're keeping the 80% down. No. It's the .1% who control vast wealth who alone have a seat at the decision-making table. Also the author, an academic economist, believes we could all educate ourselves into good jobs. Nonsense. However educated we all are, most of us have to do work that's necessary and neither requires nor benefits from extensive academic accomplishment. And, even PhDs increasingly work as adjunct faculty, earning less than a decent living. Only by ensuring that all workers, here and abroad, earn a decent living, can any of us be secure. The author does correctly point out that spin doctors have successfully "learned to talk as if the low-wage sector is mostly black," to gain white support for policies that deny the majority a decent life.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    I read this advice somewhere that said that you should only read the first chapter and the last chapter of nonfiction books so you can read more books. I thought that was the stupidest thing I've ever heard and it felt like cheating. I like to read the whole thing. I wish I had followed that advice with this book. The middle is basically a rehashing of lots of ideas that you already know--inequality is everywhere. The point in the beginning and end is the same--the effects of inequality are bein I read this advice somewhere that said that you should only read the first chapter and the last chapter of nonfiction books so you can read more books. I thought that was the stupidest thing I've ever heard and it felt like cheating. I like to read the whole thing. I wish I had followed that advice with this book. The middle is basically a rehashing of lots of ideas that you already know--inequality is everywhere. The point in the beginning and end is the same--the effects of inequality are being felt in every sector.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marc

    An outstanding synthesis of economic inequality and how it impacts the United States from MIT professor Peter Temin. I'd rank it alongside Thomas Picketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," however this book goes further in detailing motives and actions taken by the top 1% to retain economic and social control. An outstanding synthesis of economic inequality and how it impacts the United States from MIT professor Peter Temin. I'd rank it alongside Thomas Picketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," however this book goes further in detailing motives and actions taken by the top 1% to retain economic and social control.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Gravlin

    I think I found this book through reading Matthew Desmond's "Evicted," but was very disappointed with how apparent the author's political slant was pretty much from page one. If you're looking for an unbiased, informative explanation of the vanishing middle class...you might want to look elsewhere. I think I found this book through reading Matthew Desmond's "Evicted," but was very disappointed with how apparent the author's political slant was pretty much from page one. If you're looking for an unbiased, informative explanation of the vanishing middle class...you might want to look elsewhere.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eric Bottorff

    Useful if you aren't already familiar with the literature he is drawing from, as it's a good summary of said literature. However, Temin doesn't really add anything to the picture by way of new information or analysis. I think he thinks he's doing so by employing the Lewis model of the dual economy, which is more a useful frame than a model which does any interesting analytic work. It felt like Temin thought that it was required for a good economics book to have an overarching model. He also make Useful if you aren't already familiar with the literature he is drawing from, as it's a good summary of said literature. However, Temin doesn't really add anything to the picture by way of new information or analysis. I think he thinks he's doing so by employing the Lewis model of the dual economy, which is more a useful frame than a model which does any interesting analytic work. It felt like Temin thought that it was required for a good economics book to have an overarching model. He also makes some substantive mistakes w/r/t mass incarceration, as he follows Alexander's mistake of focusing too much on the war on drugs. So, overall, meh.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sanjay Varma

    A nice application of theory to socioeconomic class in America. The author adapts a theory that there are two classes: high and low earners (also called coastal elites and subsistence workers). This harmonizes well with the populist ideas emphasized by the Occupy movement. It also harmonized with study of imperialism and colonialism, since coastal cities were the administrative outposts of empires. The author does a masterful job of mapping this class structure onto American history and race rel A nice application of theory to socioeconomic class in America. The author adapts a theory that there are two classes: high and low earners (also called coastal elites and subsistence workers). This harmonizes well with the populist ideas emphasized by the Occupy movement. It also harmonized with study of imperialism and colonialism, since coastal cities were the administrative outposts of empires. The author does a masterful job of mapping this class structure onto American history and race relations. The book is pessimistic and describes how society tends to limit the number of people who can join the high earner class. The post-World War 2 rise of the middle class is dismissed as an aberration that the elites are steadily reversing, much as post-Civil War freedoms were quickly reversed for blacks. What I really like about this book is the way that the author positions his theoretical framework, which is class-based, against the more en vogue social theories of race and gender. This is solid academic work, and there is far too little of this occurring in our modern, ideologically brainwashed, times. But the book's strength is also its main limitation. By narrowly applying his theory, the author does not make the reader aware of alternative theories, and so he trains his readers, but does not strengthen us.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ailith Twinning

    TL;DR: God save us from well intentioned Liberals. An actual critique of this book, in two words? : Class Struggle. ~~~~~~~~~~~~Ranty~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I'm hard-pressed to express exactly why I find this book so offensive - but one paraphrase might illustrate it: He says, regarding social security in the broader political context, it would be "impossible" for a working-class person to understand it. I'm working class; I've read every book The Vanishing Middle Class name-checks, and my retail job req TL;DR: God save us from well intentioned Liberals. An actual critique of this book, in two words? : Class Struggle. ~~~~~~~~~~~~Ranty~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I'm hard-pressed to express exactly why I find this book so offensive - but one paraphrase might illustrate it: He says, regarding social security in the broader political context, it would be "impossible" for a working-class person to understand it. I'm working class; I've read every book The Vanishing Middle Class name-checks, and my retail job requires plenty of skill and intelligence, and every person I work with is just as good, just as intelligent, as anyone I met in college or my brief foray into the Bullshit Jobs sector of white collar work. I doubt Temin does it intentionally, but this book comes off as the writing of a classist prick. In words every working-class person can understand: "You think yer better than me?" He, every damn time, refers to the working class, the poor, people of colour, women, and immigrants, as "them". . . . Every. . . fucking . . . time. Actually, his language around race is much more self-conscious, so I take part of that back, this text very much tries to work with the tools "Racecraft" (Karen and Barbara Fields) offers, in internalizes the concept of The New Jim Crow -- but does not appear, or feel, as tho it internalizes the actual inherent equality put forward. . .it relies far too heavily on vestiges of meritocracy. It values 'intelligence', on the current cultural grounds, in unhelpful ways. And, telling the story of someone who ended up with hundreds of thousands in student debt, and nowhere to go from there, she says "I'm not a victim; I made choices." and it says first "This is true" and only then that there are 'mitigating circumstances' and manipulations. This may have been a more laudable rejection of the Prey/Victim dialectic, but it did not feel that way. It felt like 'Personal Responsibility'. This text is just so freaking bourgeois. It sides first with power's goals, and then seeks to correct power's behaviour to better attain those goals. Or it feels that way. I'm very aware of my class bias here - and I resent that I have to qualify my response this much, but my offense largely comes from the text's blindness to the human reality of class, and statistical coldness. It feels that special kind of cruel intimacy and paternalism that traps the lower classes in performative gratitude; it's a kind of violence. But, aggravatingly, this book is not even for the lower classes to read, it speaks over and past us. We aren't welcome into the conversation about ourselves, which Academe decides to have with itself and the higher classes. It's offensive. This book made me angry. I genuinely prefer the open contempt and cruelty of the Libertarian, the Patrician, Evangelicals and Neo-cons, or the petty tyranny of the petite Bourgeoisie (franchise owners, for example). Then there's the actual facts, the myths of American Exceptionalism and American Innocence, and much alike - 'nitpicks' such as the Salem trials sure as shit not being the last With Trials in America (google the Satanic Panic of the 80s and 90s, since nobody seems to remember them). It's all tilted to a Capitalist frame of reference, an economistic vector which, as I said, first, recognises power, and then criticizes its approach to its presumed aims. There's more admission of fault when it comes to race, but even then, not the whole of it - but the text tries very hard there, and I'm not in the relevant classes, I don't really know how well it succeeds. Maybe I'm thinking it fails more than it does because I'm pissed at the presumption of my lesser status because I'm working class and that's bleeding over, or maybe I'm thinking it succeeds more than it does because I don't see the little misspoken lines that create the same kind of anger the two examples I've brought here did in me. It's not about exactitudes, or total purity, and I certainly don't want to "cancel" Temin or whatever, I'm not even on Twitter. I'm just angry, and I want to say so. Feelings don't care about the facts - and, more to the point, nobody should have to be judged on their 'rationality' regarding their pains. Nobody should have to be afraid to say they're scared, or lonely, or hungry, or angry, because some person on a dias will then judge their every action, every choice, and call their suffering just, or even just their own fault. I don't talk about why I went to jail as a kid anymore - because I'm tired of old white people telling me I should be grateful I didn't A: spend the rest of my life there B: experience tenfold the hardship I did there C: Be cast into hell by Gold Almighty for trying to kill myself/being bi/whatever or D: all of the above. And I'm not alone. That woman with her student debt sure seems to have to have internalized the blame to be able speak about her debt. Blame yourself first "Forgive me father for I have sinned." before you may receive any cast-off reprieve, which must, always, come with further degradation. I'm moving my closing lines to a TL;DR . .. this got ranty.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    I've been reading a lot about our present economic and social situation lately and this is the grimmest book I've done. Temin portrays our nation as a dual economy in which the upper 20% oppress the lower 80% through declining wealth, stagnant wages, poor schools, increased debt and mass incarceration. He (sadly) makes a good case that the rise of the middle class from 1950 to 1970 is an anomaly and the unfair system we currently have is more the norm. He also expands Thomas Picketty's views in I've been reading a lot about our present economic and social situation lately and this is the grimmest book I've done. Temin portrays our nation as a dual economy in which the upper 20% oppress the lower 80% through declining wealth, stagnant wages, poor schools, increased debt and mass incarceration. He (sadly) makes a good case that the rise of the middle class from 1950 to 1970 is an anomaly and the unfair system we currently have is more the norm. He also expands Thomas Picketty's views in "Capital in the 21st Century" to include not only physical capital but also personal and social capital. He makes a good case that wealth inequality coupled with the Citizens United ruling has turned us from a democracy to an oligarchy, following the Investment Theory of politics that says whoever gives the most gets heard the clearest. He makes some recommendations at the end of the book that could turn this grim situation around but admits it will be a hard road to get back to being a democracy. The picture he paints is grim in the extreme. I wish I could say he is wrong, but I can't. I did have three problems with the work. First, it is quite short and tends to deal with complex issues briefly, often giving little credence to opposite views. Second, he tends to pick the worst examples he can find and treat them as the norm. (In his section on how education debt makes it hard to rise out of poverty he tells of a woman who went to college as and adult and ended up $400,000 in debt with no job.) Finally, the relentless negativity makes it hard to get through (as can be seen by the fact that it took me 11 days to finish a 166 page book.) I hope things are better than he says, but I doubt it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Claude Forthomme

    Brilliant essay - short (166 pages) and highly readable. And it makes an unexpected, innovative use of the Lewis model of a dual economy that is normally used to explain the challenges faced by developing countries - not a developed, advanced country like the United States. But the model's explanatory power works, and it helps to forcefully highlight what is wrong with both American democracy and the American economy. Professor Temin's book takes Thomas Piketty's famous disquisition on wealth an Brilliant essay - short (166 pages) and highly readable. And it makes an unexpected, innovative use of the Lewis model of a dual economy that is normally used to explain the challenges faced by developing countries - not a developed, advanced country like the United States. But the model's explanatory power works, and it helps to forcefully highlight what is wrong with both American democracy and the American economy. Professor Temin's book takes Thomas Piketty's famous disquisition on wealth and income inequality in the 21st century one step further and applies it to the American situation today - in the age of Trump. Two major forces, class and race ( "class segregation" and "racecraft" as he calls it) explain how it happened, and the Investment Theory of Politics wraps up the argument. Today the United States is fast becoming a plutocracy in the hands of the finance and tech sector and it is truly a grim prospect. The lights of the "city on the hill" are going out! A must read, highly recommended. Take a close look at the solutions Temin proposes - they make a lot of sense to me, but I fear that many are not politically viable...I have left a question here and hope many of you will want to answer and enter the debate.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Herzog

    So what? Temin cites the well known laundry list of our ills - a bought and paid for political class waging a class and race war against its constituents through degradation of public education, mass incarceration, neglect of infrastructure and disenfranchisement. He lists a couple of platitudes as solutions to these problems, but we all know that the wealthy will not give up their power voluntarily rendering the book very unsatisfying.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    While it might be accurate, it seemed to posit overarching conspiracy where groups of individual actors might be a more obvious explanation. In the end, that contributed to a sensationalist account that, even though I might agree with its outlines, I couldn't get behind. While it might be accurate, it seemed to posit overarching conspiracy where groups of individual actors might be a more obvious explanation. In the end, that contributed to a sensationalist account that, even though I might agree with its outlines, I couldn't get behind.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chris Chester

    Temin applies the Lewis model -- traditionally used to describe the interactions between a globalized coastal elite and a semi-feudal peasant countryside in developing countries -- and applies it to what has been happening for the last 40 years within the United States. The comparisons are obvious. The elites in Temin's model are the "FTE sector" -- made up of the Finance, Technology and Electronics sectors that have come to dominate the American economy. He describes how this sector works the le Temin applies the Lewis model -- traditionally used to describe the interactions between a globalized coastal elite and a semi-feudal peasant countryside in developing countries -- and applies it to what has been happening for the last 40 years within the United States. The comparisons are obvious. The elites in Temin's model are the "FTE sector" -- made up of the Finance, Technology and Electronics sectors that have come to dominate the American economy. He describes how this sector works the levers of American democracy to keep the low wage sector quiet through public policy choices like mass incarceration, housing segregation and malinvestment in education. Temin explores the history of the American low wage sector, including our peculiar "racecraft," with the invention and ruthless enforcement of a caste system based on skin color that is our legacy of slavery. He says that this racecraft is used by elites to keep the entire low wage sector down, because policies that would benefit even white low-wage workers is painted with a racial brush to attract broad disapproval. The forces of technological change threaten to exacerbate the gulf between the FTE and low wage sectors, or at least freeze existing class divisions in place so that no amount of education will let those in the lower classes claw their way up to a more secure living. Temin lays out five broad policy prescriptions in his conclusion as means for addressing the dark picture he has depicted: 1. Restore public education with a particular emphasis on early education. 2. Trade mass incarceration for investment in human and social capital. 3. Repair infrastructure, forgive mortgage and educational debts. 4. Reject private-public leeches and embrace public agencies and institutions. 5. Embrace American diversity. It's a nice model for a more inclusive country, and it probably looks familiar to most Democratic voters in 2016. Absent is the kind of meat and potatoes political program that could make it happen, but I guess if Temin had the answers to those challenges, he would be organizing and not just writing the book. I thought the framing of the issues in this book was interesting, but it did in the end fall back on the same old liberal orthodoxy without adding a whole lot new and useful for people trying to engage politically in 2017. Calling for an end to mass incarceration and an end to the legacy of slavery is great, but how does one do that in an age of unlimited dark money? More practically, the book definitely needs another pass by an editor because there were at least a dozen really obvious typos that, while they would have eluded a spellchecker, should not have gone unnoticed by a human being.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lee Ann

    The best summary of this book is on page 135 of the hardcover edition: "The FTE sector does not want to spend its money on infrastructure that helps the low-wage sector." I learned so much by reading this book. Temin does a fantastic job explaining in "layman's terms" the ways that the complicated nature of our country's history contributed to where we are today. Essentially, what I learned is that the issues of our times--racism, misogyny, poverty, lack of public funding, our failing infrastruct The best summary of this book is on page 135 of the hardcover edition: "The FTE sector does not want to spend its money on infrastructure that helps the low-wage sector." I learned so much by reading this book. Temin does a fantastic job explaining in "layman's terms" the ways that the complicated nature of our country's history contributed to where we are today. Essentially, what I learned is that the issues of our times--racism, misogyny, poverty, lack of public funding, our failing infrastructure, etc.--are caused by the rich getting richer. More specifically, the rich are pros at turning the lower classes against one another by fueling the fires of bigotry; they keep us angry at one another and while we're busy fighting amongst one another, they keep growing and hoarding their wealth. They could easily solve issues such as poor education, crumbling roads/bridges, poverty, student debt, climate change, and so on with their billions and billions and trillions of dollars... they just don't care to help. All they want to do is lower their own taxes so that they can keep earning more money. Money that one human being cannot possibly spend in a lifetime. So. That's great. It drives me up the wall, hearing people denounce communism when capitalism is just as corrupt. Especially with the rise of Amazon and other monopolies. We do not really have a choice when we make our purchases. It is not a truly free market, this dual economy of ours. Nor do we live in a true democracy, given the amount of voter suppression the Republicans impose upon us. *Sigh* I'll admit, this book is a very disheartening read. Temin does propose solutions to the problems, but with the way our country is spiraling out of control these days... I just don't see any of it happening anytime soon. I wish it would happen, and I will do all I personally can to make the world a better place, but so long as I am not a millionaire, I can only do so much. In times like these, I like to remember the words of the author Ursula K. Le Guin: "We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings." 5/5 stars. This is an important, enlightening book, one of my favorite nonfiction books in a long time.

  16. 5 out of 5

    David

    Peter Temin draws on the work of W. Arthur Lewis, whose 1954 "dual economy" model, which eventually won him a Nobel Prize in Economics, to analyze the 21st century American economy. Lewis' model was designed to explain the ways that developing economies worked, with a two-track economy, made of up a capitalist economy and a subsistence economy. Temin applies this model to a "developed" economy, that of the United States, distinguishing between the "FTE Sector" - the top 20% of the economy, who p Peter Temin draws on the work of W. Arthur Lewis, whose 1954 "dual economy" model, which eventually won him a Nobel Prize in Economics, to analyze the 21st century American economy. Lewis' model was designed to explain the ways that developing economies worked, with a two-track economy, made of up a capitalist economy and a subsistence economy. Temin applies this model to a "developed" economy, that of the United States, distinguishing between the "FTE Sector" - the top 20% of the economy, who primarily work in finance, technology and electronics - and the "low-wage sector" - the remaining 80%. It's an interesting and compelling analysis. It helps explain why the median voter theorem isn't particularly instructive on many issues in American politics, and ties together a number of relevant phenomena - mass incarceration, decreases in public spending on education and social services, distinctions in public opinion on public and private debt. I do think there are times when the book leans toward tendentiousness, and might do well to consider ways in which Lewis' model is an imperfect one; Temin acknowledges this in passing, but doesn't elaborate. However, his analysis of the relationship between race and class, and the ways that relationship affects public discourse on these issues, is particularly incisive and is useful in thinking about American politics in the President Trump era.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Useful at pulling together a number of different issues, but Temin isn't completely sure what his causal argument is, and that greatly weakens the book. Or to put things a bit differently, Temin isn't sure whether this book is about a relatively short-term change in US economic history--the explosion of wealth and income inequality over the past 30-40 years--or a chronic condition which has been part of the entirety of US history. Is this book about the middle class, or is it about Black America Useful at pulling together a number of different issues, but Temin isn't completely sure what his causal argument is, and that greatly weakens the book. Or to put things a bit differently, Temin isn't sure whether this book is about a relatively short-term change in US economic history--the explosion of wealth and income inequality over the past 30-40 years--or a chronic condition which has been part of the entirety of US history. Is this book about the middle class, or is it about Black Americans? One possible answer is, of course, that it's both, but that's not a very good answer. The book's title tells us that it is about the vanishing or disappearance of middle-income earners, but vanishing does not make very much sense as a frame for thinking about the place of African Americans in economic history. The persistence of racism, its durability and adaptability, its continuity--that doesn't fit in very well with a book tracing a single downward slope (the size of the middle class). Temin's use of a dual sector model is supposed to answer for this, but it is not as rigorously described or applied as I would have liked to see. It is more of a toy model--something to play lightly with, but not really to work with; it's not fully developed into a tool. Yet it is intriguing and useful nonetheless--more just needs to be done.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    A useful book that combines recent economic history with the politics and history of racial resentment in a way I haven't seen before. Academic in its sourcing but written with clarity and urgency. We're living in a dual economy with almost nobody left in the traditional middle class--a plutocracy with low social mobility and almost all political power in the hands of a very few extremely wealthy individuals, who determine policy among their Republican and Democratic representatives both, and wh A useful book that combines recent economic history with the politics and history of racial resentment in a way I haven't seen before. Academic in its sourcing but written with clarity and urgency. We're living in a dual economy with almost nobody left in the traditional middle class--a plutocracy with low social mobility and almost all political power in the hands of a very few extremely wealthy individuals, who determine policy among their Republican and Democratic representatives both, and who have no incentive to improve or support the lives of the growing segment of people who live paycheck to paycheck. As in all such books, the author here has some suggestions as to how we would turn this ship around and restore something like the brief middle-class democracy we created after WWII, but in some sense, the book mostly argues against any such solution happening in our lifetimes. A bracing read if not an optimistic one.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Every American, especially every conservative, should read this book. Temin carefully examines inequality in America and how policies have been and continue to be influenced by racism, especially that resulting from slavery in the South. He shows where policy decisions were made to cripple opportunity for and disenfranchise blacks. These decisions also affect Latinos and poor whites and continue to be made today. He shows how wealth inequality has decreased opportunities for all but the very ric Every American, especially every conservative, should read this book. Temin carefully examines inequality in America and how policies have been and continue to be influenced by racism, especially that resulting from slavery in the South. He shows where policy decisions were made to cripple opportunity for and disenfranchise blacks. These decisions also affect Latinos and poor whites and continue to be made today. He shows how wealth inequality has decreased opportunities for all but the very rich and how anger at inequality led to the election of President Trump by the same voters that are hurt by the inequality. Even the upper middle class has lost wealth to the hyperwealthy. Temin proposes five things that can be done to reverse this trend, but the likelihood of any of them happening is vanishingly small.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David Kirschner

    Dry, dry, dry. The book is all over the place. I found the beginning most useful when he explains the transition to the dual economy and outlines the two sectors. But then he goes into fairly basic (if you read about social inequalities at all) chapters on how various institutions operate within and are affected by the dual economy. Have you read The New Jim Crow? Do you have a basic understanding of gender inequality? Then there's nothing for you in Chapter 5 and 9. Does deregulated capitalism Dry, dry, dry. The book is all over the place. I found the beginning most useful when he explains the transition to the dual economy and outlines the two sectors. But then he goes into fairly basic (if you read about social inequalities at all) chapters on how various institutions operate within and are affected by the dual economy. Have you read The New Jim Crow? Do you have a basic understanding of gender inequality? Then there's nothing for you in Chapter 5 and 9. Does deregulated capitalism get you down? Tired of the rich owning more and more of the country and having more and more power in politics? You've heard everything in Chapters 6-8. Are you a teacher? Nothing new in Chapter 10. The author brings good sources together here, but it's just what you already are aware of in a different form with some economic theory framing it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    The value in this book is showing the dual economy--those above the middle class and those below the middle class--which explains how the American economy can be reported as 'doing well' while many (those below) are finding it harder and harder to get ahead. As implied in the title, the buffer between the two income levels is vanishing and the gulf between haves and have-nots is getting much wider. As far as it goes, this is a good analysis with ample references although I'm sure any Republican/ The value in this book is showing the dual economy--those above the middle class and those below the middle class--which explains how the American economy can be reported as 'doing well' while many (those below) are finding it harder and harder to get ahead. As implied in the title, the buffer between the two income levels is vanishing and the gulf between haves and have-nots is getting much wider. As far as it goes, this is a good analysis with ample references although I'm sure any Republican/conservative would disagree. Although solutions are briefly proposed and I agree with them, the author doesn't haven't a plan forward (nor does anyone else). However, identifying the problem is worthwhile.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    This dual economy stares Europeans in the face, especially when they visit Silicon Valley and its ilk, producing a wry smile when reading illustrative accounts of some of its inhabitants excluding e.g. homeless people: 'One woman said she opposed the shelters because of possible negative impacts on owls and elk. One man made an obscure reference to A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift’s 18th-century satirical essay that advocated for poor Irish people to escape poverty by selling their children as f This dual economy stares Europeans in the face, especially when they visit Silicon Valley and its ilk, producing a wry smile when reading illustrative accounts of some of its inhabitants excluding e.g. homeless people: 'One woman said she opposed the shelters because of possible negative impacts on owls and elk. One man made an obscure reference to A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift’s 18th-century satirical essay that advocated for poor Irish people to escape poverty by selling their children as food to the rich. The man suggested – probably also satirically – that San Jose consume its homeless population.' I'd say high time they make their oligarchic form of government more democratic.

  23. 5 out of 5

    david farris

    Reality This is a book that offers every American an opportunity to examine the reality that economics is the driving force in our society and if we allow special interest groups to dominate the policies of this country we all go down together, rich, poor, and everyone in between. This book offers an opportunity for any reader to get a clear picture of what is truly causing many of the devices in this country.

  24. 5 out of 5

    MNBooks

    This was written more like a series of economic articles and it really offers nothing to draw in the lay audience to any specific story. I was disappointed that this book was written prior to the 2016 elections—the author specifically mentioned that disenchanted poor whites don’t tend to vote and that was obviously not the case in 2016. I usually love non-fiction but this was hard to get excited about.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Frank

    A few of the chapters in the middle tend to reiterate similar issues, and hints at various other topics (perhaps could be an extension or sequel to this book). I did learn a few ideas, such as investment politics, and the pitfalls of a dual economy. This is a good introduction to understanding some of the national issues from a vantage point, but further research is definitely needed on the readers.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence Lewis

    Rehash of same cultural narrative. Alexander did it better in The New Jim Crow, but no one wants to address violent crime and the role drugs and alcohol addiction play in violent crime. He writes in early chapter, poor accused person must “confess to avoid jail’” How does that happen? How does a confession result in the police letting you go home. 25 years in the criminal justice system I have never seen or heard of that happening.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    A good point, but the book is too long. It probably could have all been condensed into a large essay. If you have been following economics, he is not telling you much that you don't already know. But the model of the dual economy is a useful conceptual apparatus to conceive the present moment and the United States' descent into a Third World economy. A good point, but the book is too long. It probably could have all been condensed into a large essay. If you have been following economics, he is not telling you much that you don't already know. But the model of the dual economy is a useful conceptual apparatus to conceive the present moment and the United States' descent into a Third World economy.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tobias

    Okay. Not necessarily an original piece of research, Temin nevertheless synthesizes a tremendous amount of literature to demonstrate quite conclusively that the US has become a dual economy, with disturbing implications for American democracy. Also offers some helpful policy recommendations, for what it's worth. Okay. Not necessarily an original piece of research, Temin nevertheless synthesizes a tremendous amount of literature to demonstrate quite conclusively that the US has become a dual economy, with disturbing implications for American democracy. Also offers some helpful policy recommendations, for what it's worth.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Kadmon

    Pretty good, but it doesnt really stand out amongst books on the subject. It covers the bases. It also dilutes its effectiveness to people who already agree with basic premises by branching out from easily objectively provable concepts and attempts to link them to more nebulous social problems. Still, a reasonably good primer to the subject matter.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ashish Uppala

    This is a straightforward book to read, and the models/arguments that Peter Temin presents are fairly intuitive. I liked that it was self-contained, but I will note that he was pretty biased in his writing and it shows.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.