*** The Great Divergence by Timothy Noah

In contrast with Coming Apart, which covered the same ground of the growing divide between rich and poor in the US, The Great Divergence: America’s Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do about It offers a thankfully less biased analysis of root causes of the problem along with practical solutions.The analysis is far-ranging, as the author does not hesitate to probe education, immigration, the supply of vitamins in food, offshoring for both low-skilled and high-skilled jobs, and many other potential factors. Some of the solutions made sense to me, such as increasing the quality of public services, and in particular education since social mobility is sadly lacking, and reforming the tax system to impose higher levels of taxation on the very rich. But others are more puzzling. Sure, increasing so-called skilled immigrants (those with H-1B visas) would help the technology sector but it’s not clear to me how it would improve the prospects of the poor — or do much to throttle the prodigious growth of the earnings of the super-rich.

Still, a thoughtful book on a thorny topic.


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