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Billionaires' Ball: Gluttony and Hubris in an Age of Epic Inequality
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807003395, Hardcover)The concentration of wealth today in such a small number of hands inevitably created a dynamic that led to freewheeling financial speculation—a dynamic that produced similarly disastrous results in the last great age of inequality, in the 1920s. Such concentrated economic power reverberates throughout society, threatening the quality of life and the very functioning of democracy. As McQuaig and Brooks illustrate, it's no accident that the United States claims the most billionaires but suffers from among the highest rates of infant mortality and crime, the shortest life expectancy, and the lowest rates of social mobility and electoral political participation in the developed world.
In Billionaires' Ball, McQuaig and Brooks take us back in history to the political decisions that helped birth our billionaires, then move us forward to the cutting-edge research into the dangers that concentrated wealth poses. Via vivid profiles of billionaires—ranging from philanthropic capitalists such as Bill Gates to hedge fund king John Paulson and the infamous band of Koch brothers—Billionaires' Ball illustrates why we hold dearly to the belief that they "earned" and "deserve" their grand fortunes, when such wealth is really a by-product of a legal and economic infrastructure that's become deeply flawed.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:43 -0400)
"A society top-heavy with billionaires may seem like a paradise of upward mobility, but it actually more closely resembles a boneyard of broken dreams for all but a lucky few. Between 1980 and 2008, the incomes of the bottom 90 percent of Americans grew by a meager 1 percent compared to a whopping 403 percent for the top .01 percent. We tend to regard these large fortunes as proof of a meritocracy, yet there is no evidence that members of today's super-rich are any more talented or hardworking than were the elite of a generation ago. Via vivid profiles of billionaires-ranging from philanthropic capitalist Bill Gates and the infamous Koch brothers to brazen private equity baron Stephen Schwarzman-Billionaires' Ball debunks the notion that they "deserve" their grand fortunes, when such wealth is really a by-product of a legal and economic system that's become deeply flawed and is now threatening the quality of life and very functioning of our democracy."--publisher's website.
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