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VINE VOICEon June 20, 2002
Collins and Yeskel do a superb job in showing why multinational corporations are progressively extending the gap between rich and poor, both in this country and abroad. The power of the multinationals is incredible; of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporate. Governments increasingly cater to multinationals, rewriting environmental and tax laws in order to encourage them to do business. Even the supposedly liberal Clinton--who, after all, enthusiastically brought us NAFTA--bought into (or should it be "sold out to") the corporate line that "the business of government is business." This attitude creates huge wealth for a very few, but the old claim that this wealth trickles down to benefit others is simply false, and Collins and Yeskel give facts and figures to demonstrate its falsity.
In short, the book is an invaluable read for anyone concerned with questions of social justice. sustainability, and old-fashioned economic survival. It tends to be a bit redundant in places, but this may be more of a merit than otherwise in a primer that really does summarize a dizzying amount of information. Readers who wish to explore the case against multinationals in more depth may wish to consult works like Derber's *Corporation Nation* or Korten's *When Corporations Rule the World.* E.F. Schumacher's classic *Small Is Beautiful* is also still well worth taking a look at.
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on August 7, 2000
Historically, the ideological mission of corporate America has been to make the masses believe that corporate capitalism is in their interests. From the corporate perspective, should the truth about the economy escape--that corporate capitalism generates wealth for a minority at the expense of the great majority--it is widely expected that the oppressed would rise up. That would be a disaster for the capitalist.
One of the mechanisms that the ruling class has used to keep the masses mystified has been technical economics. The function of our economy is presented as though it cannot be understood by the average citizen. "Trust us," the right-wing economists have told us.
In this book, Collins and Yeskel have made great strides in demystifying the economy, and exposing the truth about how capitalism generates inequality while leaving most people feeling insecure and uncertain of their future.
If, somehow, this book were to be read by the masses, the effect could be truly monumental. Do what you can, and get books like these into the hands of everyone you know.
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on September 17, 2001
Economic Apartheid in America approaches the issue of economic inequality in an alternative fashion. Unlike other books, the authors explain the status quo and then continue to propose ideas and their thoughts of possible activist movements. The first three chapters discuss the current situation not only in wages but also income, savings and wealth. They explain the different indicators of increasing gaps between quartiles of income levels. The authors provide reasons for the unequal distribution that has spiraled out of control over the past few decades, such as CEO compensation reaching a record high of 419 times greater than the average factory worker. Chapter 4 outlines strategies for the so-called "building a fair economy movement." They use historical examples to illustrate possible solvency of the current dilemma. The book concludes with personal action-oriented options for readers to undertake, such as campaigning for a coalition for living wage. While it is evident that the authors have strong opinions and may be viewed as radical, their suggestions do have relevance and have a right to be considered in the search for a solution. The illustrations and charts serve in visual understanding of the facts and help the reader to understand the data in an alternative facet. The book is not difficult to read or to comprehend and highlights the major problems arising between the rich and the rest of America. Economic problems are running ramped in the United States and, as a reader, you are challenged to consider the fairness and moral implications of the issue.
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on March 29, 2007
This book was a great book as well and easy to read. (I like those!) It was a required book for a labor course I took in College. I can see why it was required. Excellent choice!
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on April 17, 2007
Co-authors Chuck Collins and Felice Yeskel discuss the widening gap between America's rich and poor, and why it's in our interest to pay attention.

With clarity and conviction, Economic Apartheid In America details the reasons for this country's increasing disparity between the wealthiest and everyone else. It begins with a discussion of the societal risks economic inequality poses, including a decrease in family security, threats to our democratic institutions, and the decay of social cohesion. The book indicates that families in all but the highest earning brackets face declining real incomes, increasing personal debt, a virtual disappearance in both retirement and personal savings, and unavailable or unaffordable health care coverage. In addition, education and child care costs are on the rise and the federal minimum wage is so outdated it can no longer realistically keep a family of four above the poverty line.

The authors explain how high concentrations of wealth place excessive power in the hands of too few, primarily through political influence and corporate disenfranchisement of workers. This has resulted in an uneven playing field on which the wealthiest individuals and corporations enjoy higher income, numerous tax breaks, and greater returns on investment, while the poorest are expected to bear higher living costs, declining income, and an ever-increasing tax burden. The book also discusses the persistent disparities in earning power for minorities and women.

Collins and Yeskel point out that it wasn't always this way. In the post World War II era families in every income bracket enjoyed comparably sized increases in earnings, allowing a more even distribution of wealth and, with the notable exceptions of women and minorities, a greater level of overall prosperity. Now, in the post-Reagan era of globalization and the proliferation of "free-market capitalism," corporations have compromised wage-earner security through downsizing, outsourcing, and excessive executive compensation.

The book admonishes readers to effect change through the use of grassroots organizing efforts, the support of political leaders who favor limits on corporate welfare and an increase in the minimum wage, the reinvigoration of unionized labor, and the creation/adaptation of government social services that support working families. In addition, several strategies, from socially responsible investing to publicly funded elections, are offered as methods to close the economic divide.

Other notable topics discussed in the book include the Federal Reserve's over-aversion to inflation, the abuse of commonwealth resources, a cultural shift towards greed and consumerism, and the perpetuation of class divide via intergenerational retention of wealth. While at times the book suffers from a tone of activist desperation, overall it offers an informed summation and practical solutions for a critical issue facing society.
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on June 10, 2005
I never took an economics course in college and have frankly been stymied by most economic books. But this book is intelligent and understandable--it helps all of us see what is going on around us.
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on February 3, 2009
Economic Apartheid explores the history of how we reached the current economic gap where a minority of American people hold a majority of the wealth while the majority of the population struggle to make ends meet. The book is written in a compelling language and uses cartoons to illustrate points and enliven the many graphs sprinkled throughout the text. It begins by establishing the problem and explaining some history and goes on to focus on opportunities to improve our economy for all Americans and shrink the economic divide. Economic Apartheid in America succeeds in educating the reader. It shocks and infuriates our sense of justice, inspires action and suggests avenues for engagement. I highly recommend this book.
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on November 8, 2005
If you want to save the U.S. from falling into a European style system of misusing high sales tax against the working class, read this book and build some ideas to fight back the fascists in the media and government who are doing everything they can to socialize poverty, crime, and terrorism while at the same time privatizing your money and security. It's your choice. Learn the economic facts from this book and help take back America or be prepared to watch our country fall like the fall of the Roman empire but in a matter of a few decades than a few centuries.
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on December 2, 2014
A eye opening must read for all
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on July 11, 2007
This book isn't bad. But the content makes it difficult to be entertaining. I would compare it to a college freshmen economic textbook. But it's not just boring text. There are interesting graphs and charts. And even some lame cartoons. But it's done very well and has some excellent commentary. It's almost entertaining. But again, it's tough to sit down and actually read content about labor unions and minimum wage and stay excited. But as far as the books that I've seen or read that paint a big picture of our economy and it's current state . . . this is the best.
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