Revolt of the Rich

How the Politics of the 1970s Widened America's Class Divide

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Pub Date 18 Jun 2024 | Archive Date 25 Sep 2024

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Description

Inequality in the United States has reached staggering proportions, with a massive share of wealth held by the very richest. How was such a dramatic shift in favor of a narrow elite possible in a democratic society? David N. Gibbs explores the forces that shaped the turn toward free market economics and wealth concentration and finds their roots in the 1970s. He argues that the political transformations of this period resulted from a “revolt of the rich,” whose defense of their class interests came at the expense of the American public.

Drawing on extensive archival research, Gibbs examines how elites established broad coalitions that brought together business conservatives, social traditionalists, and militarists. At the very top, Richard Nixon’s administration quietly urged corporate executives to fund conservative think tanks and seeded federal agencies with free-market economists. Even Jimmy Carter’s ostensibly liberal administration brought deregulation to the financial sector along with the imposition of severe austerity measures that hurt the living standards of the working class. Through a potent influence campaign, academics and intellectuals sold laissez-faire to policy makers and the public, justifying choices to deregulate industry, cut social spending, curb organized labor, and offshore jobs, alongside expanding military interventions overseas.

Shedding new light on the political alliances and policy decisions that tilted the playing field toward the ultrawealthy, Revolt of the Rich unveils the origins of today’s stark disparities.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David N. Gibbs is professor of history at the University of Arizona, with a courtesy appointment in Africana studies. His books include First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia (2009).

Inequality in the United States has reached staggering proportions, with a massive share of wealth held by the very richest. How was such a dramatic shift in favor of a narrow elite possible in a...


Advance Praise

"An original and compelling analysis of the “revolt of the rich,” the carefully planned business-ideological offensive of the 1970s that reversed the New Deal programs that benefited the population and laid the basis for the neoliberal era of extreme wealth concentration along with stagnation and precarity for the large majority. A study that provides valuable insights about the recent past and critical lessons for today."

--Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"An original and compelling analysis of the “revolt of the rich,” the carefully planned business-ideological offensive of the 1970s that reversed the New Deal programs that benefited the population...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9780231205917
PRICE $30.00 (USD)
PAGES 384

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