Inequality in America: Causes and Consequences

ABC-CLIO. Jun. 2021. 359p. ed. by Robert Rycroft & Kimberley Kinsley. ISBN 9781440865145. $97. REF
With this excellent compilation, Rycroft (economics, Univ. of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA) and Kinsley (business law, Univ. of Mary Washington) bring students, primarily undergraduates, and other readers up to speed on the current state of inequality in the United States. The work is organized around core themes including education, health care, housing, the environment, and the justice system. It begins with a brief overview and essay on the nation’s history of inequality, followed by chapters on varying dimensions of inequality; it concludes with two assessments of the future of inequality. The work is written by scholars, advanced graduate students, and expert practitioners but will be accessible even to those with limited background on the issues. The content is rich, thought-provoking, and extensive. All chapters have short, insightful introductions on the topic at hand and extended lists of further reading. Chapters on emerging issues (e.g., intergenerational mobility, food deserts, consumer credit/payday loans) complement and balance entries that focus on long-standing inequalities in education, housing, health, and law. Throughout, contributors address the role of racism and gender and how socioeconomic status intersects with these identities. The last two sections are cautionary tales of what could happen if the United States doesn’t develop and implement policies to address inequality.
VERDICT A well-written and cogently organized work that expertly reflects the current financial and social inequalities in American life and possible ramifications if they go unaddressed.
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