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Runaway Inequality: An Activist's Guide to Economic Justice

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  82 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Revised, Updated Edition

Runaway inequality is now America's most critical economic fact of life. In 1970, the ratio of pay between the top 100 CEOs and the average worker was 45 to 1. Today it is a shocking 829 to one! During that time a new economic philosophy set in that cut taxes, deregulated finance, and trimmed social spending. Those policies set in motion a process t
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 28th 2015 by Labor Institute Press (first published January 1st 2015)
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Armin Samii
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Extremely accessible and informative book, but sometimes to its detriment. Leopold cherry-picks his statistics to maximize impact, sometimes using the top 400 wealthiest individuals, sometimes the top 100, and sometimes using only the top Wall Street moguls, and so on. Maybe it was harder to get data on a consistent demographic, but more than likely, Leopold chose the data that most sold the argument. Further, almost all line graphs have their y-axis truncated, making small changes look much mor ...more
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice by Les Leopold

“Runaway Inequality” is a fantastic plea for a common movement against increasing income and wealth inequality. Co-founder of the Labor Institute and author of multiple books on the economy, Les Leopold takes the reader on an enlightening journey on how banks, equity firms, and hedge funds extract wealth from society. This stimulating 320-page book includes a total of twenty-three chapters broken out by the following four
Bernie Sanders should endorse this book! Runaway Inequality explains and provides evidence for the huge economic divide in the US. Leopold explains how Wall Street, out of control banks and debt, ever increasing privatization of the public property, goods, and services we depend, the rampant destruction of the environment, low wages, police brutality, and much more, are making it very difficult for many people in the US to reach our fullest potential and live productive, happy lives.

This book i
Debbie Notkin
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is at least half charts and graphs, and it is actively designed as a teaching tool (I'm taking an all-day seminar from the author next week, hoping to learn a tmore about teaching the model). He can be a tiny bit fast-and-loose with his numbers, and he can certainly get heavy-handed, but at the same time he has really gathered and condensed the numbers we all need to understand exactly how bad things are in the U.S., how they got that way, and who did it. I especially like his replacem ...more
An excellent overview of how neoliberalism has allowed the financial sector to devour the public good over the past 40 years. Some good suggestions in the last section, though it's hard to see how those in power would ever let some of them come to pass.
Lillian Shuff
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: resist
Well written and very informative. I highly recommend this book, though I wish the author would remember that not everyone with wealth is the enemy. Also for an activists guide there is very little by why of proactive step by step solutions. Still, a good read and one I hope will change the way we see things.
Griff Hibbard-Curto
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it
A decent overview about the contributing factors to our historic economic inequality today. Also serves as a workbook for the modern organizer to more fully question those forces and start to analyze solutions. The target audience for this book is only obvious on the final page: anyone interested enough to read a book about this topic is likely already fairly well educated about these issues. Les wants the reader to fully entrench themselves in the facts and to build a national, broad-reaching c ...more
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Les Leopold was at Oberlin at the same time that I was. He was an activist even then and so he has been involved in issues related to unions and workers rights for many years. That said, his assessment of how things have gone downhill for most of the American population while a very small percentage has done phenomenally well is intriguing and probably right on target. We used to build things and take pride in it. Now American productivity is at an all time high, but those who are producing good ...more
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
I should let you know that I seldom or never give 5's so 4 stars mean I like this book a great deal. It is an excellent sector-by-sector rundown on how we, the 99%, are being screwed by our government in favor of the 1% who have succeeded in establishing the Better Business Paradigm of corporate control, strip-mining of our economy, evasion of taxes, & destruction of the natural resources of the planet we depend upon for life. While Leopold covers all bases, this is still a concise, easy to unde ...more
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Starting around 1980, a tremendous wealth gap started forming between average Americans and the few who were ultra-wealthy, and it still exists today. Why? This powerfully argued book explains, and crams what seems like a college course worth of recent American economic history between its covers. It's simply worded and backed up with a multitude of studies. Published in 2016, before the presidential election, most of the tome is even more relevant in light of today's political and economic clim ...more
Malcolm Arthur
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very informative and accessible. Does not attack/promote democrats or republicans specifically, although there's no real question as to where the author stands. I was given several copies for free by the author; once I finished reading it I have been giving them away to the people whom I think would most benefit from reading them.
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Important material. Unfortunately, it is so packed full of data and information that it doesn't make for a good read. It's better to come back to for a chapter here and there after a while - especially when you need to renew your aggravation at the state of American economic injustice.
Linda K. Law
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inlighting book

Opened my eyes to the terrible effects of runaway inequality. Hope that Bernie Sanders can organize progressive democratic groups around the country to fight inequality, corruption ,pollution and find and fund candidates that will support that fight.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: activism
This book is great. It appeals to all political bents equally (Bernie, Hillary, Trump, or none of the above), and readers come out of it hoppin' mad and ready to kick some 1% butt.
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Worth everyone’s time to help understand the immense inequalities between the richest rich and the rest of us in every facet of our nation.
Jim Hudson
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Extremely eye-opening book revealing the link between inequality in the financial and corporate sector with such injustices in America as racism, criminal justice, militarism, etc. I especially liked the author's many charts comparing America to other first world countries, exposing the lie to American exceptionalism. My one complaint is the author's failure to present a clear way ahead.
Matt Haynes
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was good. It is very scary to think about how corporations own so much of the power in our nation, rather than the people.
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