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A New York Times Bestseller A Wall Street Journal Bestseller A New York Times Notable Book of 2020 A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Shortlisted for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year A New Statesman Book to Read From economist Anne Case and Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton, a groundbreaking account of how the flaws in capitalism are fatal for America's working class Deaths of despair from suicide, drug overdose, and alcoholism are rising dramatically in the United States, claiming hundreds of thousands of American lives. Anne Case and Angus Deaton explain the overwhelming surge in these deaths and shed light on the social and economic forces that are making life harder for the working class. As the college educated become healthier and wealthier, adults without a degree are literally dying from pain and despair. Case and Deaton tie the crisis to the weakening position of labor, the growing power of corporations, and a rapacious health-care sector that redistributes working-class wages into the pockets of the wealthy. This critically important book paints a troubling portrait of the American dream in decline, and provides solutions that can rein in capitalism's excesses and make it work for everyone.
"This book documents the decline of white-working class lives over the last half-century and examines the social and economic forces that have slowly made these lives more difficult. Case and Deaton argue that market and political power in the United States have moved away from labor towards capital--as unions have weakened and politics have become more favorable to business, corporations have become more powerful. Consolidation in some American industries, healthcare especially, has brought an increase in monopoly power in some product markets so that it is possible for firms to raise prices above what they would be in a freely competitive market. This, the authors argue, is a major cause of wage stagnation among working-class Americans and has played a substantial role in the increase in deaths of despair. [The authors] offer a way forward, including ideas that, even in our current political situation, may be feasible and improve lives"--
While the rise in premature deaths among American working-class whites has become a national crisis, the authors tie the problem to the weakening position of labor, the growing power of corporations, and to a health-care sector that redistributes working-class wages to the wealthy
Dreamland by Sam Quinones
Winner of the NBCC Award for General Nonfiction Named on Amazon's Best Books of the Year 2015--Michael Botticelli, U.S. Drug Czar (Politico) Favorite Book of the Year--Angus Deaton, Nobel Prize Economics (Bloomberg/WSJ) Best Books of 2015--Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky (WSJ) Books of the Year--Slate.com's 10 Best Books of 2015--Entertainment Weekly's 10 Best Books of 2015 --Buzzfeed's 19 Best Nonfiction Books of 2015--The Daily Beast's Best Big Idea Books of 2015--Seattle Times' Best Books of 2015--Boston Globe's Best Books of 2015--St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Best Books of 2015--The Guardian's The Best Book We Read All Year--Audible's Best Books of 2015--Texas Observer's Five Books We Loved in 2015--Chicago Public Library's Best Nonfiction Books of 2015 From a small town in Mexico to the boardrooms of Big Pharma to main streets nationwide, an explosive and shocking account of addiction in the heartland of America. In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America--addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland. With a great reporter's narrative skill and the storytelling ability of a novelist, acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been catastrophic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma's campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive--extremely addictive--miracle painkiller. Meanwhile, a massive influx of black tar heroin--cheap, potent, and originating from one small county on Mexico's west coast, independent of any drug cartel--assaulted small town and mid-sized cities across the country, driven by a brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Together these phenomena continue to lay waste to communities from Tennessee to Oregon, Indiana to New Mexico. Introducing a memorable cast of characters--pharma pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, and parents--Quinones shows how these tales fit together. Dreamland is a revelatory account of the corrosive threat facing America and its heartland.
If Then How The Simulmatics Corporation Invented The Future by Jill Lepore
Longlisted • National Book Award (Nonfiction) Best Books of 2020 • Financial Times Best Books of Fall 2020: O, The Oprah Magazine, The Observer, Boston.com Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2020: TIME A revelatory account of the Cold War origins of the data-mad, algorithmic twenty-first century, from the author of the acclaimed international bestseller These Truths. The Simulmatics Corporation, launched during the Cold War, mined data, targeted voters, manipulated consumers, destabilized politics, and disordered knowledge—decades before Facebook, Google, and Cambridge Analytica. Jill Lepore, best-selling author of These Truths, came across the company’s papers in MIT’s archives and set out to tell this forgotten history, the long-lost backstory to the methods, and the arrogance, of Silicon Valley. Founded in 1959 by some of the nation’s leading social scientists—“the best and the brightest, fatally brilliant, Icaruses with wings of feathers and wax, flying to the sun”—Simulmatics proposed to predict and manipulate the future by way of the computer simulation of human behavior. In summers, with their wives and children in tow, the company’s scientists met on the beach in Long Island under a geodesic, honeycombed dome, where they built a “People Machine” that aimed to model everything from buying a dishwasher to counterinsurgency to casting a vote. Deploying their “People Machine” from New York, Washington, Cambridge, and even Saigon, Simulmatics’ clients included the John F. Kennedy presidential campaign, the New York Times, the Department of Defense, and dozens of major manufacturers: Simulmatics had a hand in everything from political races to the Vietnam War to the Johnson administration’s ill-fated attempt to predict race riots. The company’s collapse was almost as rapid as its ascent, a collapse that involved failed marriages, a suspicious death, and bankruptcy. Exposed for false claims, and even accused of war crimes, it closed its doors in 1970 and all but vanished. Until Lepore came across the records of its remains. The scientists of Simulmatics believed they had invented “the A-bomb of the social sciences.” They did not predict that it would take decades to detonate, like a long-buried grenade. But, in the early years of the twenty-first century, that bomb did detonate, creating a world in which corporations collect data and model behavior and target messages about the most ordinary of decisions, leaving people all over the world, long before the global pandemic, crushed by feelings of helplessness. This history has a past; If Then is its cautionary tale.
Tightrope by Nicholas D. Kristof
New York Times Best Seller "A deft and uniquely credible exploration of rural America, and of other left-behind pockets of our country. One of the most important books I've read on the state of our disunion."--Tara Westover, author of Educated With stark poignancy and political dispassion Tightrope addresses the crisis in working-class America while focusing on solutions to mend a half century of governmental failure. Drawing us deep into an "other America," the authors tell this story, in part, through the lives of some of the people with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Yamhill, Oregon. It's an area that prospered for much of the twentieth century but has been devastated in the last few decades as blue-collar jobs disappeared. About a quarter of the children on Kristof's old school bus died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. While these particular stories unfolded in one corner of the country, they are representative of many places the authors write about, ranging from the Dakotas and Oklahoma to New York and Virginia. With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore.
Understanding Consumption by Angus Deaton
An overview of the saving and consumption patterns of households
Strangers In Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild
The National Book Award Finalist and New York Times bestseller that became a guide and balm for a country struggling to understand the election of Donald Trump "A generous but disconcerting look at the Tea Party. . . . This is a smart, respectful and compelling book." —Jason DeParle, The New York Times Book Review When Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, a bewildered nation turned to Strangers in Their Own Land to understand what Trump voters were thinking when they cast their ballots. Arlie Hochschild, one of the most influential sociologists of her generation, had spent the preceding five years immersed in the community around Lake Charles, Louisiana, a Tea Party stronghold. As Jedediah Purdy put it in the New Republic, "Hochschild is fascinated by how people make sense of their lives. . . . [Her] attentive, detailed portraits . . . reveal a gulf between Hochchild's 'strangers in their own land' and a new elite." Already a favorite common read book in communities and on campuses across the country and called "humble and important" by David Brooks and "masterly" by Atul Gawande, Hochschild's book has been lauded by Noam Chomsky, New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu, and countless others. The paperback edition features a new afterword by the author reflecting on the election of Donald Trump and the other events that have unfolded both in Louisiana and around the country since the hardcover edition was published, and also includes a readers' group guide at the back of the book.
Alienated America by Timothy P. Carney
Respected conservative journalist and commentator Timothy P. Carney continues the conversation begun with Hillbilly Elegy and the classic Bowling Alone in this hard-hitting analysis that identifies the true factor behind the decline of the American dream: it is not purely the result of economics as the left claims, but the collapse of the institutions that made us successful, including marriage, church, and civic life. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump proclaimed, “the American dream is dead,” and this message resonated across the country. Why do so many people believe that the American dream is no longer within reach? Growing inequality, stubborn pockets of immobility, rising rates of deadly addiction, the increasing and troubling fact that where you start determines where you end up, heightening political strife—these are the disturbing realities threatening ordinary American lives today. The standard accounts pointed to economic problems among the working class, but the root was a cultural collapse: While the educated and wealthy elites still enjoy strong communities, most blue-collar Americans lack strong communities and institutions that bind them to their neighbors. And outside of the elites, the central American institution has been religion That is, it’s not the factory closings that have torn us apart; it’s the church closings. The dissolution of our most cherished institutions—nuclear families, places of worship, civic organizations—has not only divided us, but eroded our sense of worth, belief in opportunity, and connection to one another. In Abandoned America, Carney visits all corners of America, from the dim country bars of Southwestern Pennsylvania., to the bustling Mormon wards of Salt Lake City, and explains the most important data and research to demonstrate how the social connection is the great divide in America. He shows that Trump’s surprising victory was the most visible symptom of this deep-seated problem. In addition to his detailed exploration of how a range of societal changes have, in tandem, damaged us, Carney provides a framework that will lead us back out of a lonely, modern wilderness.
Economics And Consumer Behavior by Angus Deaton
This classic text has introduced generations of students to the economic theory of consumer behaviour. Written by 2015 Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton and John Muellbauer, the book begins with a self-contained presentation of the basic theory and its use in applied econometrics. These early chapters also include elementary extensions of the theory to labour supply, durable goods, the consumption function, and rationing. The rest of the book is divided into three parts. In the first of these the authors discuss restrictions on choice and aggregation problems. The next part consists of chapters on consumer index numbers; household characteristics, demand, and household welfare comparisons; and social welfare and inequality. The last part extends the coverage of consumer behaviour to include the quality of goods and household production theory, labour supply and human capital theory, the consumption function and intertemporal choice, the demand for durable goods, and choice under uncertainty.