Annotated Bibliography

Books About the Very Rich

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Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis

A hilarious first-hand account of young men and women working on the trading floor of Salamon Brothers investment bank.

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis

An insider’s look at high-frequency trading where investment bankers take advantage of high speed computers to buy or sell a fraction of a second before their competitors.

The Big Short by Michael Lewis

The inside story of the how the financial crisis of 2008 came about, from which the recent award-winning film was made.

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Meyers

The author shows how a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system.

Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland

This book is an attempt to understand the changing shape of the world economy by looking at those at the very top: who they are, how they made their money, how they think and how they relate to the rest of us.

Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer – And Turned Its back on the Middle Class by Jacob S. Hacker & Paul Pierson

The good news reported by Hacker and Pierson is that American wealth disparities are not the residue of globalization or technology or anything else beyond our control, but of politics and policies which tilted toward the rich beginning in the 1970s and can, over time, be tilted back.

Listen, Liberal: Or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank

The professional class, the teachers, lawyers, doctors, architects, etc., on whom our country has counted for so long to remain objective, above the political fray, and steer our democracy over the shoals of greed and corruption and self-interest, has lost its objectivity, no longer associates itself with the working class, the labor unions, the unlucky, and has joined the rarified ranks of the well-educated and the privileged.

Books About the Poor

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The Other America: Poverty in the United States by Michael Harrington

First published in 1962, this book is regarded as a classic work on poverty. “That the poor are invisible is one of the most important things about them. They are not simply neglected and forgotten as in the old rhetoric of reform; what is much worse, they are not seen,” wrote the author.

The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives by Sasha Abramsky

Today, after four decades during which tackling economic hardship took a distant backseat to other priorities, one in six Americans live below the poverty line, their live as constricted as those that peopled the pages of The Other America in the Kennedy era. Why?

American Hunger by Eli Saslow

Nearly 1 in 7 Americans – and almost a quarter of all children – now receive food stamps, the highest participation in the program’s history. Hunger remains the lasting scar of the recession.

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin

The author actually restricts herself to $2.00 a day in order to be able to write first-hand about the experience.

Labor’s Love Lost: The Rise and Fall of the Working-Class Family in America by Andrew J. Cherlin

The author, a sociologist teaching at Johns Hopkins University, is convinced that the traditional working-class family, where the husband has a job that supports all of them and his wife is the full-time house-keeper, that was the backbone of traditional America, is a thing of the past and that a totally new child-rearing arrangement between men and women is emerging to meet the very different economic organization we will be living in.

Books about Our Situation: How We Got into it and How We Can Get Out

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The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Where it all began. The book from which the founding fathers fashioned our economic system.

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

Mill’s believed that true freedom would prevail only when an individuals’ drive to better his/her station could proceed without impeding others in their own efforts to do the same. This clearly-expressed belief has formed the basis for our free enterprise system.

Chicagonomics: The Evolution of Chicago Free Market Economics by Lanny Ebstein

The University of Chicago, founded by John D. Rockerfeller, and its leading economist, Milton Friedman, are principal purveyors of laissez-faire capitalism as practiced today.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Picketty

The classic work on inequality by the Frenchman who discovered inequality. A Harvard University Press best-seller, highly readable.

Inequality: What Can Be Done? By Anthony B. Atkinson

A very difficult read but I believe he has the answer; so be patient and read it. Atkinson, a Britisher, is one of the leading authorities on inequality.

The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz

A highly readable exposition of our plight.

Saving Capitalism for the Many, Not the Few by Robert B. Reich

A myth-shattering breakdown of how the economic system that helped make America strong is now failing us and what it will take to fix it. Reich sees hope for reversing our slide toward inequality and diminished opportunity when we shore up the countervailing power of everyone else.

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Robert Frank

The professional class, the teachers, lawyers, doctors, architects, etc., on whom our country has counted for so long to remain objective, above the political fray, and steer our democracy over the shoals of greed and corruption and self-interest, has lost its objectivity, no longer associates itself with the working class, the labor unions, the unlucky, and has joined the rarified ranks of the well-educated and the privileged.

Five short articles in the Jan/Feb Issue of Foreign Affairs:                                                                   

Inequality and Modernization by Ronald Inglehart

Inequality and Globalization: How the Rich Get Richer as the Poor Catch Up by François Bourguignon

How To Create a Society of Equals: Overcoming Today’s Crisis of Inequality by Pierre Rosanvallon

Equality and American Democracy : Why Politics Trumps Economics by Danielle Alle

How to Spread the Wealth : Practical Policies for Reducing Inequality by Anthony B. Atkinson

The Role of Technology in Income Inequality

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Rise of the Robots:Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Short

Winner of Business Book of the Year in 2015, this spell-binding book looks into our not-so-distant future to predict that human capacities at all levels will eventually be replaced machine intelligence, leaving both workers and managers with nothing to do, no jobs. He explores some possible solutions if we act at once.

 

 Books About Quakers in Business

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Meeting House and Counting House; The Quaker Merchants of Colonial Philadelphia 1682 – 1763 by Frederick B. Tolles

Almost since the beginning Quakers, in both Britain and America, became successful businessmen, a tradition that descends almost to the present, and hence qualifies them to be leaders in the necessary reform of present harmful and malicious practices.

Good Business Ethics at Work: advices and Queries on Personal Standards of Conduct at Work

Today many people are dismayed by unethical business practices they see around them. They believe that business itself is unethical. This book is to act as a guide and an inspiration a business for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Quakers Living in the Lion’s Mouth: The Society of Friends in Northern Virginia 1730 – 1865 by A. Glen Crothers

The difficulties of a group of Quakers to accommodate themselves to a slave-owning society, as an example to today’s Quakers attempting to survive the injustices of an abhorrent economic system.

The Clash of Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation by John C. Bogle

Jack Bogle is a very successful business man. He is not a Quaker but he conducts his business with all the conscientiousness we would expect of one. He is a model for all that we would hope a business man to be and we should listen carefully to his argument for the ethical conduct of business.

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