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Top Heavy: The Increasing Inequality of Wealth in America and What Can Be Done About It (Englisch) Taschenbuch – September 1996


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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 112 Seiten
  • Verlag: The New Press; Auflage: Expanded (September 1996)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1565843479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565843479
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 1,3 x 14 x 21,6 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.893.175 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"Wolff’s calm, scholarly prose contains a powerful warning for all of us: a democratic society cannot survive the awesome concentration of wealth that has occurred in America since the 1970s." —Barbara Ehrenreich

"Wolff’s analysis slices through the fog about the supposed health of the American economy through the go-go ’80s and ’90s. . . . There [is] no ignoring the consequences of the massive inequality Wolff describes." —James Ledbetter, Newsday
-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .

Synopsis

An economist's account of the gains the rich made in the 1980s, this book shows the increase in the inequality of wealth using examples and facts and figures. In the second part of the book, the author demonstrates that the majority of advanced industrial countries tax household wealth holdings, while the USA does not. Examining the various taxes in Europe, Wolff proposes a Swiss-style, direct wealth tax for the USA that would raise about $40 billion per year.

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Format: Taschenbuch
Ed Wolff's book--a review of his earlier work on wealth, with some new additional material added--documents that the United States today is a more unequal society than at any time since the Great Depression.
According to his numbers--which are lousy, but are nevertheless the best we have or are likely to acquire-- in 1929 the richest one percent of households had about 41 percent of the economy's total wealth. But the leveling associated with the Depression and World War II had reduced the richest one percent's share to about 22 percent by 1945. Thereafter, the leveling trend continued. By the mid-1970s, the richest one percent's share--including the implicit value of rights and claims on the Social Security system. of total wealth was down to 13-16 percent of the economy's total wealth. But by the late 1980s, the richest one percent's' wealth was back up to 21 percent of the economy's total wealth. And scattered pieces of information suggest that the trend toward increasing inequality has continued into the 1990s.
Increasing inequality is not due to a surge in entrepreneurial activity: economic growth was unusually low in the 1980s (in substantial part because of the drain on investment resulting from the Reagan deficits). The fortunes made were, for the most part, not to any unusual extent the by-product of especially rapid economic growth.
Rising inequality is cause for alarm for two reasons: First, in a time of high inequality politics becomes nasty and democracy becomes less secure and stable. Second, an unequal economy--an economy in which the chances of striking it rich are larger and the chances of failing to maintain middle-class incomes are larger--fails to provide adequate social insurance. Risk-averse people would, if given a choice when young, overwhelmingly prefer to live in an equally rich overall but more equally distributed society.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 Rezensionen
43 von 46 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Very Nice Survey of Wealth Inequality 28. November 1999
Von James B. Delong - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Ed Wolff's book--a review of his earlier work on wealth, with some new additional material added--documents that the United States today is a more unequal society than at any time since the Great Depression.
According to his numbers--which are lousy, but are nevertheless the best we have or are likely to acquire-- in 1929 the richest one percent of households had about 41 percent of the economy's total wealth. But the leveling associated with the Depression and World War II had reduced the richest one percent's share to about 22 percent by 1945. Thereafter, the leveling trend continued. By the mid-1970s, the richest one percent's share--including the implicit value of rights and claims on the Social Security system. of total wealth was down to 13-16 percent of the economy's total wealth. But by the late 1980s, the richest one percent's' wealth was back up to 21 percent of the economy's total wealth. And scattered pieces of information suggest that the trend toward increasing inequality has continued into the 1990s.
Increasing inequality is not due to a surge in entrepreneurial activity: economic growth was unusually low in the 1980s (in substantial part because of the drain on investment resulting from the Reagan deficits). The fortunes made were, for the most part, not to any unusual extent the by-product of especially rapid economic growth.
Rising inequality is cause for alarm for two reasons: First, in a time of high inequality politics becomes nasty and democracy becomes less secure and stable. Second, an unequal economy--an economy in which the chances of striking it rich are larger and the chances of failing to maintain middle-class incomes are larger--fails to provide adequate social insurance. Risk-averse people would, if given a choice when young, overwhelmingly prefer to live in an equally rich overall but more equally distributed society.
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Timely proposals to ease America's most pressing political and social problem 28. Dezember 2005
Von Robert Moore - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
No feature of American political life astonishes me more than the almost complete silence of politicians and journalists and the media concerning the most pressing problem is contemporary American life: the dramatically increasing inequality between the haves and have nots in the United States. According to Federal Reserve figures the share of the national wealth held by the top 1% of the population has risen from 20$ in 1979 to 37% by 1997. I have not seen figures since that date, but after Clinton continued the deregulation started by Reagan and continued by Bush 41 and then Bush 43 engaged on an inconceivably lavish give-back program in the nation's history, it would be impossible to imagine that the figures have improved since then. What is the figure now? 40%? 45%? 48%? Here is what frightens me: Edward Wolff published the revised version of his novel in 2002, submitting the manuscript to the publishers before Bush's incredible largesse to the rich took place in 2002. The problem was, in Wolff's view (and in the view of most responsible economists), pressing and dire in 2001. How much worse has it gotten since a string of tax cuts and policy changes that have unquestionably have made a serious problem vastly worse?

Wolff's concern in this well-documented work are twofold: first, he wants to delineate the nature of the economic inequality that currently pervades the United States to a degree found in no other developed country; second, he wants to suggest one way partially to rectify the problem: for the United States to adopt a wealth tax similar to one that exists in several other nations.

Most people, when they think of economic inequality, think in terms of income inequality. Such inequality does indeed exist, but Wolff shows that the most damaging inequality is wealth inequality. The point, once stated, is obvious. Two families with the same income could nonetheless have very significant differences in economic well-being if one has far more wealth than the other, i.e., property and durable goods and other holdings. The problem in the United States, as demonstrated by the Fed statistics I noted above, is that virtually all the wealth is held by the top 20% of the populace, with the top 1% holding a disproportionate amount of that.

Wolff proposes one way to close the growing and vast gap between the wealthy and the mass of Americans: taxing wealth. Even the most conservative of taxes on aggregate wealth would, based on 1998 figures, generate approximately $52 billion dollars in tax revenue. The goal in Wolff's conception is to shift the tax burden more fairly toward the ones who possess the greatest wealth. He notes that in 2001 the United States had only two forms of wealth tax in place, both of which Bush has assaulted with impassioned intensity: estate taxes and capital gains taxes. Eliminating both of these are regressive taxes in that they ease the tax burden on the wealth while doing nothing to aid the poor or middle class. In other words, instead of the Bush administration doing something about economic inequality, they have intensified it.

I found Wolff's proposals to be highly persuasive. Unfortunately, we are still nationally in the throes of all kinds of mythology about taxes. We imagine that taxes are harmful to the economy, that it is unfair to expect the wealthy to pay a significantly higher tax rate, and that cutting taxes somehow stimulates the economy. In fact, as Wolff points out, a wealth tax would actually be highly stimulative by forcing the very wealthy to shift their wealth into more productive forms of investment.

But quite apart from whatever is economically productive, there are a host of moral and political questions. Is a society that allows wealth to accumulate among those who already have an inordinate amount conducive to the greater good? Is a society that persistently fails to aide those who have the least just? I will confess that my heart never bleeds for the very wealthy when they are asked to pay a bit more. Nor do I buy the rather absurdist arguments that tax cuts for the wealthy promotes economic growth. Historically, shifting wealth to the middle class has always been vastly more stimulative to the economy than shifting it to the rich. And shifting wealth to the rich has never generated any benefits to the middle class or the poor. As Will Rogers pointed out in the 1920s, another era where people thought giving more to the rich would benefit all, some people think that gold is like water: put it at the top and it runs down and nourishes everyone down below. But, Rogers pointed, out, gold isn't like water at all. You put it at the top and it just stays there. Until we as a nation start addressing the problem of our nation's severe economic inequality, the gold is just going to stay there.
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
the alarm has been sounded 26. Februar 2004
Von David Group - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This study of the distribution of wealth in America is disheartening indeed. Though it only surveys the economic scene until 1989 (a postscript brings it up to 1992), it is not hard to believe that things haven't changed much since then. Basically, it concludes that the gap between the rich and the poor has increased to a greater extent than at any time since before the Great Depression, and that the gap between the rich and the poor is greater than in most European countries.
Not only does this book outline the problem in detail, but it proposes a restructured tax system similar to that existing in many European countries, a tax system which would ease the burden on the poor, while placing little extra tax burdens on the rich-- and still raise billions more in tax revenue. Though this book is filled with statistical analyses, it is slim (fewer than a hundred pages), and those not mathematically inclined can skip to the conclusions here and there, which are written in clear, understandable prose. Well worth reading, and certain to be a wake-up call to anyone who has suspected that the middle class has been disappearing in this country.
A must 9. Januar 2007
Von J. Saladino - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This is a must read for anyone interested in economic inequality. Excellent social science and readable.
0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Be aware! This book has a flaw. 28. Juni 2013
Von Jeffrey Noel - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Great book, but it loses all credibility because one page said the Gini Coefficient was at 0.84 in America, but the Gini Coefficient has never been that high in the recorded history of America. So while everything is seemingly sound, I am leery about citing this book in a master's or doctoral thesis because of that very noticeable mistake.
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