Abouth the Book

Book cover - The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap The featured book this year, on the topic of “structural inequality,” is The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi, a regular contributor to Rolling Stone magazine. He will give an evening talk on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

In The Divide, published in 2014, Taibbi ponders a “bizarre statistical mystery” two decades in the making: Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles.

And, he says, not one of the new prisoners is among the rich whose fraud wiped out 40 percent of the world’s wealth.

He describes a “new despotism” hidden in the “thousands of arbitrary decisions that surround our otherwise transparent system of real jury trials and carefully enumerated suspects’ rights.”

“Most people understand this on some level, but they don’t really know how bad it has gotten, because they live entirely on one side of the equation. If you grew up well off, you probably don’t know how easy it is for poor people to end up in jail, often for the same dumb things you yourself did as a kid.

“And if you’re broke and have limited experience in the world, you probably have no idea of the sheer scale of the awesome criminal capers that the poweful and politically connected can get away with, right under the noses of the rich-people police.”

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