It’s been awhile since I read a good old political/economics book and because this was on sale and recommended I got it, both read and listened and was very pleased. It’s great if your interests run along these lines – same information basically but with a different twist and very relevant to our own times.
Sitaraman is a legal scholar at Vanderbilt University and he writes very well explaining clearly and yet interestingly.
The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic
by Ganesh Sitaraman
2017 / 433 pages
read by MacLeod Andrews – 12h 24m
Rating: 9 / history-economics
(both read and listened)
Starting with a strong Introduction the book is organized into Parts, Chapters and Sections which help to break up the reading into digestible chunks. And at the outset of each Part there is a short introduction to what its two Chapters will cover. I’ve come across this kind of organization before and I really appreciate it. Down to the paragraphs it’s structured and written using the methods I used studying and writing history in college. The result is a book which sticks to the point and progresses from one point to the next. Not only that, the numerous Source Notes seem thorough and valuable. (Aaaaahhhhh…..)
Part One deals with history, back to the Greeks and their ideas, but more about the Romans and their system of dealing with the divide between rich and poor and constitution. Then comes the way the US is set up and how the founders seem to know in fair depth what they were doing. The fear of aristocracy combined with the open land space available after the War of Independence played a huge part in the writing of the Constitution. It was expected that the US agrarian ways would continue so there would be a huge and stable middle class for the decades to come.
Part Two concerns the US and it’s growing and then shrinking middle class from the era of post-Civil War feudalism in the south to probably 2015, including the industrial revolution and the Gilded Age, WWII, the Civil Rights era and up to today’s polarization. And then we have Donald Trump in the last 30 pages (out of 300 narrative pages), but it’s not about him or his policies specifically, the subject is much greater than that. Rather, Sitaraman includes a number of methods which work toward fixing the imbalance and restoring a Republic. Kudos.
It’s an excellent book if you’re interested in economics and government policy.