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Does the Richness of the Few Benefit Us All?




Does the Richness of the Few Benefit Us All?

Zygmunt Bauman

ISBN: 978-0-745-67108-6 July 2013 Polity 100 Pages



It is commonly assumed that the best way to help the poor out of their misery is to allow the rich to get richer, that if the rich pay less taxes then all the rest of us will be better off, and that in the final analysis the richness of the few benefits us all. And yet these commonly held beliefs are flatly contradicted by our daily experience, an abundance of research findings and, indeed, logic. Such bizarre discrepancy between hard facts and popular opinions makes one pause and ask: why are these opinions so widespread and resistant to accumulated and fast-growing evidence to the contrary?

This short book is by one of the world’s leading social thinkers is an attempt to answer this question. Bauman lists and scrutinizes the tacit assumptions and unreflected-upon convictions upon which such opinions are grounded, finding them one by one to be false, deceitful and misleading. Their persistence could be hardly sustainable were it not for the role they play in defending - indeed, promoting and reinforcing - the current, unprecedented, indefensible and still accelerating growth in social inequality and the rapidly widening gap between the elite of the rich and the rest of society.

Introduction 1

1 Just how unequal are we today? 6

2 Why do we put up with inequality? 20

3 Some big lies on which a bigger one floats 27

4 Words against deeds: an afterthought . . . 90

Notes 97

  • Zygmunt Bauman is one of the most original and influential social thinkers of out time.
  • Renowned sociologist, Zygmunt Bauman, reflects upon the startling and worrying facts of social inequality of which we have become so conscious in the last decade.
  • Bauman debunks a number of common and widespread myths that support inequality - including the idea that the richness of the few benefits everyone.
  • Anyone interested in the role of greed and inequality in society will be compelled to read this book.