The Divide

The Divide

American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

eBook - 2014 | Unabridged.
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A scathing portrait of an urgent new American crisis Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery: Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles. Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world's wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail. In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends'growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration'come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty. The Divide is what allows massively destructive fraud by the hyperwealthy to go unpunished, while turning poverty itself into a crime'but it's impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side. In The Divide, Matt Taibbi takes readers on a galvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice'the fun-house-mirror worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor. He uncovers the startling looting that preceded the financial collapse; a wild conspiracy of billionaire hedge fund managers to destroy a company through dirty tricks; and the story of a whistleblower who gets in the way of the largest banks in America, only to find herself in the crosshairs. On the other side of the Divide, Taibbi takes us to the front lines of the immigrant dragnet; into the newly punitive welfare system which treats its beneficiaries as thieves; and deep inside the stop-and-frisk world, where standing in front of your own home has become an arrestable offense. As he narrates these incredible stories, he draws out and analyzes their common source: a perverse new standard of justice, based on a radical, disturbing new vision of civil rights. Through astonishing'and enraging'accounts of the high-stakes capers of the wealthy and nightmare stories of regular people caught in the Divide's punishing logic, Taibbi lays bare one of the greatest challenges we face in contemporary American life: surviving a system that devours the lives of the poor, turns a blind eye to the destructive crimes of the wealthy, and implicates us all. From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2014.
Edition: Unabridged.
ISBN: 9780679645467
0679645462
Characteristics: 1 online resource.
Summary: A scathing portrait of an urgent new American crisis Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery: Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles. Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world's wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail. In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends'growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration'come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty. The Divide is what allows massively destructive fraud by the hyperwealthy to go unpunished, while turning poverty itself into a crime'but it's impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side. In The Divide, Matt Taibbi takes readers on a galvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice'the fun-house-mirror worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor. He uncovers the startling looting that preceded the financial collapse; a wild conspiracy of billionaire hedge fund managers to destroy a company through dirty tricks; and the story of a whistleblower who gets in the way of the largest banks in America, only to find herself in the crosshairs. On the other side of the Divide, Taibbi takes us to the front lines of the immigrant dragnet; into the newly punitive welfare system which treats its beneficiaries as thieves; and deep inside the stop-and-frisk world, where standing in front of your own home has become an arrestable offense. As he narrates these incredible stories, he draws out and analyzes their common source: a perverse new standard of justice, based on a radical, disturbing new vision of civil rights. Through astonishing'and enraging'accounts of the high-stakes capers of the wealthy and nightmare stories of regular people caught in the Divide's punishing logic, Taibbi lays bare one of the greatest challenges we face in contemporary American life: surviving a system that devours the lives of the poor, turns a blind eye to the destructive crimes of the wealthy, and implicates us all. From the Hardcover edition.

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A truly brilliant analysis of what ails America, and to a lesser extent, many other "developed," yet divided countries. Divided in terms of income, resources, education, longevity, and health.

l
lukasevansherman
Sep 24, 2016

"If you dig deeply enough in America, the big political swings always have something to do with race."
Odds are that if you're reading Matt Taibbi, a writer for "Rolling Stone" and the author of "Griftopia," then you're pretty liberal. We do tend to read the political books the enforce our own ideas, for better or worse. Regardless, this is a complelling, sometimes infuriarting book about the deeply ingrained injustice in the American system. Using striking examples, Taibbi reveals how those who commit low-level crimes (drug possession, loitering) are far too often poor and non-white and subjected to a draconinan, punitiive system, while the white collar and corporate criminals, whose crimes affect far more people, rarely receive the punishment they deserve. Taibbi is a classic muckracker journalist, who attacks in order to motivate. He reminds me a bit of Thomas Frank, another astute social/political critic.

redban May 07, 2015

Taibbi's Griftopia is one of the best works of modern nonfiction, so it is most difficult to follow up.

I think Mr. Taibbi has done an admirable job with this book. I have no idea what commentor Kdinkelspiel's requirements are for a "compelling nexus", Taibbi seems to have explained his thesis (the disparity between the rich and the poor under the law) as clearly as can be. And I completely disagree with just focusing on one half of the topic, that would make this book "hollow".

I will agree that if you find the stories in this book shocking, you have been living under a rock. This book is a mere introduction, for more in-depth analysis there's Chris Hedges' "Death of the Liberal Class" and David Graeber's "The Democracy Project". Even more in-depth, there's anything by Michael Hudson.

k
Kdinkelspiel
Apr 04, 2015

Loved Griftopia. In this book Mr. Taibbi tries to draw together two ideas that the poor suffer with an unjust criminal justice system, while the rich, well, there's no justice system that applies them. Either idea on its own would have made a fine topic (though the latter is explored at length in Griftopia), but Mr Taibbi fails to draw a compelling nexus between the two. I appreciated aspects of his reporting on those swept up by, particularly, the ridiculous New York City policing authority, but he seems to have interviewed his subjects to make a point, not so the reader might truly appreciate their lives. He gets close, but in the end their stories feel hollow. Nice try Mr. Taibbi. Perhaps your next book will focus on the entirety of the policing debacle.

admartin861 Mar 15, 2015

Well written book, but would have liked to see more than simply anecdotal evidence. The stories are compelling, and there may or may not be contextual evidence, but this is a great thought provoking read.

p
Persnickety77
Nov 24, 2014

this will make you angry and depressed. but you should read it anyway

a
athena14
Aug 23, 2014

Comparing and contrasting how law and order treat the financial industry versus ordinary Americans is too much for one book. Righteous indignation gets tiring.

KCLSLibrarians May 07, 2014

A well researched, if dismaying, portrait of our legal and political systems. Taibbi contrasts the treatment undocumented workers and ‘welfare moms’ receive in our system to the treatment and consequences visited upon Wall Street before and after the housing market collapse in 2008. In the first- people have zero rights and can be hopelessly caught up in the ‘dragnet’ of local law enforcement and in the second- people literally steal billions of dollars from investors and no one, no one goes to jail. An important read for anyone interested in what being part of the 1% (or not) really means.

s
StarGladiator
Apr 07, 2014

If, after reading this book, you still don't understand why Timothy Geithner and the CEOs and senior executives of Chase and Goldman Sachs should be in jail, you are truly dumber than dum! This is a Great Book. Sure, there may be several things I'm not completely in agreement with Taibbi on. Yes, Chase is the King of Dirty, the most crooked and corrupt, the number one criminal organization in America, but WaMu wasn't in the running for sainthood, as congressional investigations rightly showed - - and Linda Almonte a whistleblower? She was right to not sign that major deal, but she should have immediately left, or blown that whistle, the moment she witnessed that major robo-signing operation [filing false affidavits] - - would she still be with Chase had she not had to put her own signature on a major incriminating deal? Most probably. [Keysha Cooper, on the other hand, refused the first crooked loan she was meant to certify, and was fired by WaMu!] This book makes people realize, if they haven't by now, that America is a completely fraud-based society, no other explanation for the large numbers of citizens knowingly breaking the law at all these banks, law firms, pension administrators, financial services firms, hedge funds, private equity/leveraged buyout firms, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera! [And be sure to read Nomi Prins' All The Presidents' Bankers.]

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