Thursday, July 18, 2013

#199 / The Rich Don't Always Win

As you might imagine, I like the title of this book by Sam Pizzigati! I also liked the book itself, which I finished on a recent trip to Ireland and France. It is well worth reading.

Pizzigati provides a very readable history of the status of "plutocracy" in American history. Mostly, as he documents, plutocracy prevails. In fact, based on the history contained within the book, I think that the title is a bit misleading. More accurately, the book ought to be titled, "The Rich Lost Once." The subtitle of the book, seen on the cover, is "the forgotten triumph over plutocracy that created the American middle class, 1900-1970." That triumph is well documented by Pizzigati, but it's the only "win" for the non-Plutocrats that the book can find, and since 1970, things have gone back to the situation prevailing in the early 1900's. 

In other words, the rich don't always win. They just win all the time except once. 

Gar Alperovitz, who has also been writing on wealth disparity in the United States, and what might be done about it, says that the conditions that created the New Deal, and the "win" for the non-plutocrats that Pizzigati identifies, are no longer in existence, and that there is no chance whatsoever that we can now duplicate the kind of "political" victories discussed in The Rich Don't Always Win

I read Alperovitz before reading Pizzigati, and I was hoping for a counter argument that might give me some hope. While I loved the book, I ended up thinking that Alperovitz is essentially right. 

We are going to have to try something new. 

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