Dream Hoarders

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

eBook - 2017
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"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"--
Publisher: Washington, D.C. : Brookings Institution Press, 2017
Edition: 1st Edition
ISBN: 9780815729136
0815729138
081572912X
9780815729129
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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c
calvoer
Sep 29, 2017

Short and easy to read with compelling diagrams. This is an original theme that has received a lot of press coverage and will hopefully spawn more investigative books. The author leaves lots of room for others to expand on how the hoarding of resources plays out in the lives of ordinary citizens. I found his "solutions" - what needs to happen to turn the situation around - to be entirely inadequate.

PimaLib_StephanieM Sep 11, 2017

I am on board with Reeves' case for a very real class system in the United States. It is hard to argue with any of the points he is making as they are well-researched and very clearly articulated. The finger in this book is pointing at me and I knew that going in. Despite the zinger of a title, Reeves isn't asking the "hoarders" to engage in self-flagellation but rather to honestly reconcile their values with the economic realities of their class. Reeves' portrait of the American upper-middle class, while convincing and backed up with loads of (very digestible) data, leans too heavily on the upper-middle class of the East Coast. His arguments apply to anyone in this income range but the anecdotes used to flesh out the numbers didn't portray this phenomenon beyond the East Coast prep school set stereotype. There is dream hoarding happening across the U.S. but Reeves didn't quite capture how it plays out regionally.

m
murielg
Aug 17, 2017

Full of clear diagrams, supporting evidence, and compelling citations, this book is logical and gentle in tone. Reeves has made this medicine as easy as possible for us to take by writing a book that is only 156 pages long and not accusatory in tone. Upper middle class Americans can be part of the solution to making our society fair.

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