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Runaway Inequality

An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice

Revised, Updated Edition

Runaway inequality is now America’s most critical economic fact of life. In 1970, the ratio of pay between the top 100 CEOs and the average worker was 45 to 1. Today it is a shocking 829 to one! During that time a new economic philosophy set in that cut taxes, deregulated finance, and trimmed social spending. Those policies set in motion a process that greatly expanded the power of financial interests to accelerate inequality. But how exactly does that happen?

Using easy-to-understand charts and graphs, Runaway Inequality explains the process by which corporation after corporation falls victim to systematic wealth extraction by banks, private equity firms, and hedge funds. It reveals how financial strip-mining puts enormous downward pressure on jobs, wages, benefits, and working conditions, while boosting the incomes of financial elites.

But Runaway Inequality does more than make sense of our economic plight. It also shows why virtually all the key issues that we face—from climate change to the exploding prison population—are intimately connected to rising economic inequality.

Most importantly, Runaway Inequality calls upon us to build a common movement to tackle the sources of increasing income and wealth inequality. As the author makes clear, the problem will not cure itself. It will take enormous energy and dedication to bring economic justice and fairness back to American society.

The book is divided into four parts:

  • Part I: What is the fundamental cause of runaway economic inequality? What has made our economy less fair and left most of us less secure?
  • Part II: How does the United States really compare with other major developed countries?  How do we stack up on quality of life, health, and well-being?
  • Part III:  What does economic inequality have to do with so many of the critical issues we face, including taxes, debt, education, criminal justice, racism, climate change, foreign trade, and war?
  • Part IV: What concrete steps can we take to begin building a fair and just society?   

From the book: “There is nothing in the economic universe that will automatically rescue us from runaway inequality. There is no pendulum, no invisible political force that ‘naturally’ will swing back towards economic fairness. Either we wage a large-scale battle for economic, social, and environmental justice, or we will witness the continued deterioration of the world we inhabit. The arc of capitalism does not bend towards justice. We must bend it.”

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Salon-

…"the book has many virtues besides its timeliness. And more than most of the other high-profile books on inequality in recent years, Runaway Inequality doesn’t just explain where the U.S. economy went wrong; it also explains how American citizens can organize to get it back on track.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Les Leopold

Les Leopold

After attending Oberlin College and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (MPA 1975), Les cofounded and currently directs two non-profit educational organizations: The Labor Institute (1976) and the Public Health Institute (1986). He designs research and educational programs on occupational safety and health, the environment and economics. He is now helping to form an alliance between the United Steel Workers Union and the Sierra Club. He is the author of The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor (2007), and The Looting of America (2009).


AUTHOR VIDEOS

Les Leopold, author of The Looting of America, Explains the Financial Collapse (Longer Version)

Les Leopold, author of The Looting of America, Explains the Financial Collapse and Bailout

Tony Mazzocchi, A Video Tribute

Les Leopold speaks in Portland--with video

Thom Hartmann: Conversations with Great Minds with Les Leopold - The Looting of America, Pt 1

Thom Hartmann: Conversations with Great Minds with Les Leopold - The Looting of America, Pt 1

Runaway Inequality

Pages:320 pages
Book Art:Black and white graphs, charts, and tables
Size: 5.375 x 7.375 inch
Publisher:The Labor Institute Press
Paperback: 9780692436301
Pub. Date October 28, 2015

Available In/Retail Price

Paperback, 320 pages, $19.95