By Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks
“A devastating expose of the real-world impact of extreme wealth concentration from two of our most rigorous, knowledgeable and humorous chroniclers of corporate excess. An indispensable read for this political moment.”
-Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine
“Magnificent: the book of the moment, that was just waiting to be written, and has now been written very well.”
In the last few decades, the concentration of income in the United States, Britain and Canada has reached levels not seen since the late 1920s. As this provocative new book shows, such extreme income concentration created a dynamic that led to the disastrous Wall Street crash in 2008 – just as it did in 1929.
The financial collapse is simply the most striking example of the problems caused by the rise of a fabulously rich new elite. In The Trouble with Billionaires, Canadian best-selling author Linda McQuaig and tax professor Neil Brooks make a compelling case that the massive fortunes of the ultra-rich – widely considered benign or even beneficial to society–are actually detrimental to everyone else.
The glittering lives of billionaires may seem like harmless sources of entertainment. But such concentrated economic power reverberates throughout society, threatening the quality of life and the very functioning of democracy. It’s no accident that the United States claims the most billionaires—but suffers from among the highest rates of infant mortality and crime, the shortest life expectancy, as well as the lowest rates of social mobility and electoral political participation in the developed world.
Our society tends to regard large fortunes as evidence of great talent or accomplishment. Yet the vast new wealth isn’t due to an increase in talent or effort at the top, but rather to changing social attitudes legitimizing greed and to government policy changes that favour the new elite. Authoritative and eye-opening,The Trouble with Billionaires will spark debate about the kind of society we want.
“Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks have written a blistering yet utterly entertaining account of the rampaging growth in economic inequality that is America’s defining feature in the 21st century. By profiling members of the upper .01%, they colorfully demonstrate the whopping dimensions of inequality, debunking notions that it is economically, politically or morally justified. A compelling book for all concerned citizens and anyone who wonders if this is the only world possible.”
-Robert W. McChesney, co-founder of Free Press and co-author of Dollarocracy: How Billionaires Are Buying Our Democracy and What We Can Do about It
“McQuaig and Brooks give a fascinating account of how many of the country’s super-rich made their fortunes and why they do not deserve them. Billionaires’ Ball will leave readers both better informed and infuriated.”
-Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and author of False Profits: Recovering from the Bubble Economy
“Lively, tough-minded, and impeccably researched, Billionaires’ Ball powerfully demonstrates how ruthless political opportunism—as opposed to talent, hard work, or innovation—is helping the rich get richer. The current system, unjust and socially destructive, McQuaig and Brooks argue, sacrifices the interests of the bottom 99 percent (as the Occupy Wall Street movement has described it) to ensure unprecedented wealth and privilege for the 1 percent at the top.”
-Joel Bakan, author of The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power and Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Children
Penguin Canada, Fall 2010
Beacon, US Summer 2012
Oneworld, UK, Spring 2013
Capitan Swing Libros, Spain