Comments about Greed and Good

From a review in the December 19, 2005 In These Times
by David Moberg:

In Greed and Good, a highly engaging, encyclopedic survey of arguments for and against equality, Sam Pizzigati, a veteran labor journalist, makes a compelling case that increasing inequality contributes to rising unhappiness, corruption of professions like law and medicine, environmental destruction, less innovative businesses, slower economic growth, a fraying social fabric and much more . . .
Americans seem at best ambivalent about restraining great wealth. But Pizzigati shreds the rationales for inequality — as an incentive, as a justifiable reward, as the price paid for charitable benevolence — and argues that a just society must not only “level up” the poor but also “level down” the rich, capping their incomes at ten times the minimum wage. (The average CEO last year made 431 times the average worker’s earnings). That would create a real incentive for the elite to raise the wages of most workers in order for them to increase their own incomes, and it could have a wide range of benefits — from slowing the hedonic treadmill to improving health and giving free reign to motivations other than greed.

“Sam Pizzigati takes us on a sweeping tour of life in these United States that is both depressing and angering, even embarrassing to see how gravely our country and democracy have been overwhelmed by the greed and power of concentrated wealth. His story, however, ends in hope and vision — big ideas for rescuing American ideals from plutocracy and for restoring our bedrock values of equity and equality.”
William Greider, author,
The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy

From a review in the August 2005 Political Affairs
by Norman Markowitz:

Sam Pizzigati, a progressive journalist, activist, and man of letters in the old sense, has written a treatise on the rising tide of inequality in the United States and its profoundly destructive effects on the quality of most individuals' lives. In the tradition of "men of letters," Pizzigati ranges widely, using political economy, history, philosophy, and modern social science to demolish what New Dealer Thurman Arnold called the "folklore of capitalism" in the 1930s, a "folklore" now advanced by those who seek to literally destroy all of the advances made from the 1930s to the 1970s.

“Sam Pizzigati has put together the definitive case against the excessive inequality of income, wealth and power in our society. He gives us hard numbers and common sense observations, as well as imaginative proposals for reversing our slide into plutocracy and social decay. If you care about your country, read this book.”
Jeff Faux, distinguished fellow,
co-founder, Economic Policy Institute, Washington, D.C.

From a review in the March 2005 American Library Association journal, Choice,
by economist Michael Perelman:

This extraordinary book begins with a detailed demolition of the trickle-down case for inequality . . . No brief description can adequately describe the mass of valuable insight and information contained within this volume. . . . This book deserves the highest possible recommendation.

Greed and Good is essential reading to grasp the widespread and sometimes invisible evil impact of economic inequality on our lives and society. Sam Pizzigati dares to envision a world without grotesque disparities of wealth and power — and makes a profound and inspiring case for dedicating ourselves to this cause.”
Chuck Collins, co-founder, United for Fair Economy,
and co-author with Bill Gates Sr. of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes

From a review in the November 15, 2004 Progressive Populist
by Alvena Bieri:

We have a minimum wage. The author suggests the radical idea that maybe we should have a maximum wage as well . . . Pizzigati has two chapters on the details, and it all sounds good to me.

“The looting of America — from the top — has been rolling along now for nearly a generation. Our nation’s rich have become, far and away, the world’s richest. What price do we pay for this massive inequality? No book exposes the full true cost better than Sam Pizzigati’s Greed and Good. And no book suggests a more thought-provoking strategy for ending the gross inequalities that are rotting the American dream.”
Congressman George Miller (D-Calif.),
chair, House Democratic Policy Committee

From a review in the September 2004 Labor Party Press
by editor David Ransom:
We dare not imagine a society without them,” observes Sam Pizzigati of the super-rich in his new book. Pizzigati dissects the propaganda that made that so — the idea that concentrated wealth benefits us all — and he investigates the price we pay for inequality.
Pizzigati, who for many years directed publications at the National Education Association, reminds us that once America considered such wealth “a menace to everything that made us special as a people.” Power corrupts not only those who have it, he notes, but those who allow it to concentrate as well.
Think you know all this? Try him. At worst you get a powerfully argued refresher course. And, though it’s a big book, Pizzigati’s fluid prose makes for highly enjoyable reading.

From a review in the May 22, 2004 World Wide Work,
a American Labor Education Center bulletin, by Matt Witt:

A thorough review of how unprecedented inequality is eating away at every aspect of American life, plus a proposal for what could be done about it. An imposing 550 pages of text that works because of its conversational, plain talking style and preference for substance over sloganeering.

From a review in the Summer 2004 Thought & Action, the higher education journal,
by economist Mason Gaffney:

The author ranges widely over the effects of maldistribution of wealth on culture, retailing, health, democracy, business administration, charity, industrial organization, research, speculation, crime, inner peace, professional standards, and victory in sports. Critics could never call him narrow, so they will say he is spread too thin. But he has much of value to say on each topic and keeps the reader engaged. He fills out his themes but moves right along logically and sequentially.

From a July 27, 2004 review by David Swanson,
International Labor Communications Association media coordinator:

We spend more on criminal justice and have more crime. How can that be? We're richer and have more poverty. Why is that? Sam Pizzigati, author of a new book called Greed and Good, thinks he has both an answer and a solution to these and several other riddles.



Published by Rowman & Littlefield/The Apex Press
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham MD 20706 | To order: (800) 462-6420
  Concerned about ever-growing concentrations of income and wealth? Interested in keeping up-to-date on inequality research — and the struggle for a more equal world? Take a look at Too Much, the Institute for Policy Studies online weekly edited by Greed and Good author Sam Pizzigati. Learn more, browse back issues, and subscribe here.