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Sociologist Mike Savage is proud to announce his new book, The Return of Inequality, which takes readers beyond economic debate to show how inequality is returning us to a past dominated by empires, dynastic elites, and ethnic divisions.
The economic facts of inequality are clear. The rich have been pulling away from the rest of us for years, and the super-rich have been pulling away from the rich. More and more assets are concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Mainstream economists say we need not worry; what matters is growth, not distribution.
In The Return of Inequality, Savage pushes back.
He explains inequality’s profound deleterious effects on the shape of societies, and shows how economic inequality aggravates cultural, social, and political conflicts, challenging the coherence of liberal democratic nation-states.
Put simply, severe inequality returns us to the past. It fractures social bonds and harnesses the democratic process to the strategies of a resurgent aristocracy of the wealthy. It revives political conditions we thought we had moved beyond: empires and dynastic elites, explosive ethnic division, and metropolitan dominance that consigns all but a few cities to irrelevance. Inequality threatens to return us to the very history we have been trying to escape since the Age of Revolution.
Economist Thomas Piketty describes Savage’s book as a “major sociological contribution to the ongoing global debate on inequality and the return of social class.”
Westerners have been slow to acknowledge how inequality undermines the very foundations of liberal democracy: faith in progress and trust in the political community’s concern for all its members.
Savage guides us through the ideas of leading theorists of inequality, including Marx, Bourdieu, and Piketty, revealing how inequality reimposes the burdens of the past.
The Return of Inequality is a vital addition to one of our most important public debates.
Mike Savage is Martin White Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and author of Social Class in the Twenty-First Century, Globalization and Belonging, and The Dynamics of Working-Class Politics.
Order ‘The Return of Inequality’: https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674988071