Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence by Rachel Sherman

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Read Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence Online Free - A surprising and revealing look at how today's elite view their own wealth and place in society

From TV's "real housewives" to The Wolf of Wall Street, our popular culture portrays the wealthy as materialistic and entitled. But what do we really know about those who live on "easy street"? In this penetrating book, Rachel Sherman draws on rare in-depth interviews that she conducted with fifty affluent New Yorkers--including hedge fund financiers and corporate lawyers, professors and artists, and stay-at-home mothers--to examine their lifestyle choices and their understanding of privilege. Sherman upends images of wealthy people as invested only in accruing and displaying social advantages for themselves and their children. Instead, these liberal elites, who believe in diversity and meritocracy, feel conflicted about their position in a highly unequal society. They wish to be "normal," describing their consumption as reasonable and basic and comparing themselves to those who have more than they do rather than those with less. These New Yorkers also want to see themselves as hard workers who give back and raise children with good values, and they avoid talking about money.

Although their experiences differ depending on a range of factors, including whether their wealth was earned or inherited, these elites generally depict themselves as productive and prudent, and therefore morally worthy, while the undeserving rich are lazy, ostentatious, and snobbish. Sherman argues that this ethical distinction between "good" and "bad" wealthy people characterizes American culture more broadly, and that it perpetuates rather than challenges economic inequality.

As the distance between rich and poor widens, Uneasy Street not only explores the real lives of those at the top but also sheds light on how extreme inequality comes to seem ordinary and acceptable to the rest of us.

Title : Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0691165505
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 0 pages


Hadrian rated it ★★★☆☆

December 11, 2017

Analysis of a collection of 50 interviews with New Yorkers with incomes between $250,000 and $10,000,000. They've adapted to their wealth in strange ways - some say it's luck, others say they deserve it completely. Much time is devoted to moral justification for how it is earned, attempting to av...

Tim rated it ★★★★☆

November 02, 2017

By the time I finished reading the first page, I was overcome with the feeling that something was missing. Oh, right, it's that my expectations have been warped by the way we discuss the rich in popular culture. Rachel Sherman didn't write this book with the purpose of making fun of the upper cla...

Dave rated it ★★★★☆

January 19, 2018

Before I lived in NYC, I thought Starbucks was high-end, now to me it's the same as Dunkin Donuts, which isn't any better than a gas station IMO. This is the same comparison bias the affluent people in Uneasy Street face, 10-15 years ago in a place besides NYC, SF, or LA their wages and real esta...

Michelle rated it ★★★★☆

November 03, 2017

Ethnographic study (interviews) with affluent New Yorkers about how they understand and frame their wealth and privilege Critiques moral judgment of people as "good" or "bad" rich based on how they spend, think, and inhabit their wealth (good = prudent, hardworking, and nice people, bad= ostentati...

Brian rated it ★★★★★

January 01, 2018

I decided to read this book after seeing it mentioned on NPR. It was what I had hoped for, an insightful and scholarly examination of the views and experiences of wealthy people. I found it captivating. The book frequently points out a lack of attention to structural inequality. The conclusions a...

Vnunez-Ms_luv2read rated it ★★★☆☆

September 17, 2017

This book is about rich and privileged people that reside in NYC. The subjects seemed like they were making excuses for their money but yet trying to keep with people in their social class or above. It became a bit over-bearing. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC of thi...

Sarah rated it ★★★☆☆

December 25, 2017

I oscillated from feeling annoyed and judgemental of the families featured in the book to recognizing myself and the justifications of privilege I allow myself, or at the very least, accept as inevitable. It read like a PhD thesis, but that didn't keep me from turning the pages.

Molly rated it ★★☆☆☆

October 16, 2017

This reads more as paper for graduate studies in Sociology than a discussion about any moral implications of economic disparity in America. It is a bit clumsy and repetitive but it makes it's point (over and over again). A horrifying look at the modern day Marie Antoinettes

Jeremy rated it ★★★★☆

January 04, 2018

Rich people really do manufacture first-world problems in order to make the rest of us hate them. Still an interesting book.

Sam rated it ★☆☆☆☆

December 14, 2017

This reads like a poorly written, and poorly edited, PhD thesis in Women's Studies.

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