Equality in America: The View from the Top

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Harvard University Press, 1985 - 334 pages
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A model of meticulous and incisive scholarship, Equality in America dissects American attitudes toward equality by placing those beliefs in historical context and demonstrating a relationship between political and economic equality. The book is based on a study of leaders from all significant sectors of American society, including top business and labor leaders, those highest in the media and in political parties, and leaders from the feminist and civil rights movements.

The book takes on the thorny puzzle of how economic inequality, which is the inevitable result of a free economy, coexists with political equality, which is a necessary ingredient of democracy. In the course of their argument, the authors take issue with free market economists and Marxist analysts, both of whom treat self-interest as the driving force behind individual and collective behavior, leaving little place for the role of beliefs and values.

 

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Contents

Egalitarian Dilemmas
1
The Two Hundred Years War
21
The Leaders
52
Accord and Discord
71
A Common Language of Equality
89
Political Parties
124
Equality of Income
148
Equality of Influence
181
Economics and Politics
218
Equality in Perspective
246
Structure
283
Copyright

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About the author (1985)

Sidney Verba was born in Brooklyn, New York on May 26, 1932. He received a bachelor's degree in history and literature from Harvard University and a master's degree and doctorate in politics from Princeton University. He was an assistant and associate professor at Princeton and a full professor at Stanford University and the University of Chicago before returning to Harvard in 1973. He taught at Harvard for more than 30 years before retiring in 2007. He was also the director of the Harvard University Library from 1984 to 2007. He co-wrote several books including The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations written with Gabriel A. Almond; The Changing American Voter written with Norman Nie and John Petrocik; Participation and Political Equality: A Seven Nation Comparison written with Norman Nie and Jae-on Kim; Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research written with Gary King and Robert Keohane; and Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Democracy written with Kay Lehman Schlozman and Henry E. Brady. Verba died on March 4, 2019 at the age of 86.

Gary R. Orren is V. O. Key, Jr., Professor of Politics and Leadership at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

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