Inequality Matters: The Growing Economic Divide in America and Its Poisonous Consequences

inequality matters book cover
Edited by Jim Lardner and David Smith. Published in collaboration with Demos.
The New Press, 2005

"The middle class and working poor are told that what's happening to them is the consequence of Adam Smith's 'Invisible Hand.' This is a lie."
-- From the introduction by Bill Moyers

Since the 1970s, the U.S. economy has been sending more and more of its rewards to fewer and fewer people. Once seen as a global exemplar of egalitarianism and middle-class opportunity, America has become the most unequal of developed nations. This quarter-century-long trend has changed the texture of America life in ways that threaten our deepest values.

Drawing on the best and latest research, the contributors explore issues such as the real story the numbers tell about how America has changed; dimensions of inequality (education, health, and opportunity); causes of inequality -- looking past the usual suspects of technology, trade, and immigration; the persistence of racial disparities; the erosion of democracy and community; and inequality as a moral and religious problem. Not just a catalog of inequality's ills, the book concludes with a plausible and hopeful policy path -- beyond a more just and humane economy.

Contributors include:

  • Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Robert Franklin
  • Stanley B. Greenberg
  • William Greider
  • Robert Kuttner
  • Betsy Leondar-Wright
  • Meizhu Lui
  • Theda Skocpol

About the editors:

Jim Lardner is a journalist and the founder of

David A. Smith is a senior fellow in Business, Society, and Democracy at Demos, a think and action tank in New York City. He previously served as Director of Public Policy at the AFL-CIO and as an aide to Senator Edward M. Kennedy.