Read Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do about It Online Free - America is becoming a class-based society.
It is now conventional wisdom to focus on the wealth of the top 1 percent—especially the top 0.01 percent—and how the ultra-rich are concentrating income and prosperity while incomes for most other Americans are stagnant. But the most important, consequential, and widening gap in American society is between the upper middle class and everyone else.
Reeves defines the upper middle class as those whose incomes are in the top 20 percent of American society. Income is not the only way to measure a society, but in a market economy it is crucial because access to money generally determines who gets the best quality education, housing, health care, and other necessary goods and services.
As Reeves shows, the growing separation between the upper middle class and everyone else can be seen in family structure, neighborhoods, attitudes, and lifestyle. Those at the top of the income ladder are becoming more effective at passing on their status to their children, reducing overall social mobility. The result is not just an economic divide but a fracturing of American society along class lines. Upper-middle-class children become upper-middle-class adults.
These trends matter because the separation and perpetuation of the upper middle class corrode prospects for more progressive approaches to policy. Various forms of “opportunity hoarding” among the upper middle class make it harder for others to rise up to the top rung. Examples include zoning laws and schooling, occupational licensing, college application procedures, and the allocation of internships. Upper-middle-class opportunity hoarding, Reeves argues, results in a less competitive economy as well as a less open society.
Inequality is inevitable and can even be good, within limits. But Reeves argues that society can take effective action to reduce opportunity hoarding and thus promote broader opportunity. This fascinating book shows how American society has become the very class-defined society that earlier Americans rebelled against—and what can be done to restore a more equitable society.
|Title||:||Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do about It|
|Number of Pages||:||240 pages|
June 20, 2017
At first Reeves’ argument, that the upper middle class should voluntarily give up their advantaged place in society, sounds virtuous, if a little unlikely. But gradually, listening to his arguments in this slim book of charts, graphs, and statistics, we remember what we don’t like about America:...
July 01, 2017
I hated this book. I knew I would hate it when I read Dr. Reeves' 10 Jun Sun NY Times article "Stop Pretending You're Not Rich".
I knew I would hate that Dr. Reeves would call me out for my efforts at gaming the system (529s, property, investments, parentin...
July 17, 2017
Some good observations and awful conclusions. I will write more later. But in the meantime I will note that this guy quotes the likes of Charles Murray (of The Bell Curve fame!) and implies that virtually anything people do to help their children is part of a malicious economic...
June 06, 2017
Eye-opening. Scary. Brave. Reeves lays out an unpopular and unvarnished truth about America's privileged class of which he and most of his readers (including me) are members. His sincere and thorough scholarship make for an interesting if uncomfortable read.
August 29, 2017
This book is a waste of time. In an attempt to write a book different from all the others on the shelf about inequality caused by the top 1%, the author presents weak arguments about why the "upper middle class" is the cause of inequality in the United States. In fact, the arguments presented los...
July 24, 2017
I agree with much of the argument, in particular about how the individual choices of the upper middle class contribute to opportunity hoarding. However, the ways in which inequality itself and the lack of a safety net contribute to the problem is largely ignored.
December 14, 2017
This is an important book. We need to talk more about the stickiness of class in America. This is a great start to that discussion. I think he could have talked a lot more about race in here because it’s actually the main example of dream hoarding—white flight and segregated schools lock in both...
September 18, 2017
Dream Hoarders is one of those clarifying books I'm lucky to read every few years or so. It's not the 1% that's the problem, Reeves says, but the top 20% of society that's got most of the goodies and is barely aware of it. Great neighborhoods, great schools, tax advantages, even preferential acce...
July 03, 2017
Reeves has a good point when he talks about how the top 20% (upper middle class) of the American population are getting more benefits than they deserve, and how this should change. However many of the data he presents are not new, and the policy proposals he offers are so large and varied that it...
December 15, 2017
This book is for me one of the most effective conversation starters about social mobility I’ve read in a while. It focuses on a fact that for years has been consciously overlooked by both voters and policy makers. A fact that stands in the room like a naked ogre, blocking the door to a more decen...