Greed and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality That Limits Our Lives originally appeared early in our current century, well before the Great Recession and Occupy Wall Street shoved the maldistribution of America’s income and wealth onto the nation’s political center stage.
But that maldistribution had already become obvious to a generation of scholars, journalists, and activists. Their work, in both the United States and around the world, had exposed just how concentrated wealth is poisoning everything we hold dear, from our health to our happiness.
In Greed and Good, author Sam Pizzigati brought together this critically important body of work, for the first time ever inside a single book, and built upon it. Greed and Good takes readers on an eye-opening tour of nearly every aspect of our modern lives. In the workplaces where we labor and the communities where we live, the book helps us understand, we feel the impact of inequality each and every day. Our widening gaps between the wealthy and everyone else, Greed and Good shows, are squeezing pride out of our professions, pleasure out of our pastimes, even years out of our lives.
This widening inequality, in return, offers us nothing significant of value. Greed and Good dissects and demolishes the old saws that apologists for inequality regularly trot out to justify the gaps that divide us. These gaps, author Pizzigati counsels, not only should be narrowed, they can be narrowed.
And just how? Greed and Good explores the most promising options for creating a less unequal America, then offers a practical political guide for moving forward incrementally on the boldest option of all, a “maximum wage,” a national ceiling on annual individual income that would rise if and only if the minimum wage rose first.
No book, noted Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) upon Greed and Good’s publication, “suggests a more thought-provoking strategy for ending the gross inequalities that are rotting the American dream.”
Choice magazine, the American Library Association book review journal for research and professional collections, subsequently placed Greed and Good on its annual list of “Outstanding Academic Titles.”
Greed and Good has now gone out of print, but the original publisher has made the full text available at no cost online. Readers can download, from the table of contents below, that text by individual chapter as well as by the book’s three major sections: The Case for Greed, The Cost of Greed, and An End to Greed.
Questions? You can reach author Pizzigati, currently an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and the co-editor of Inequality.org, online. His books since Greed and Good include The Rich Don’t Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class, 1900-1970 (Seven Stories Press, 2012) and The Case for a Maximum Wage (Polity Books, 2018).