There's too much emphasis on the top 1 percent of wage earners when looking at who controls wealth and power in the US, Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institute argues at this January 26, 2018 talk at UC Berkeley, co-sponsored by the Haas Institute and the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.
Reeves said we should instead be focusing on the top 20 percent who have tremendous influence over policy and use that sway to pursue their personal interests to the detriment of the bottom 80 percent.
The talk was based off his recently published book, titled Dream Hoarders: How the American Middle Class is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, and drew rebuttals from two leading faculty at UC Berkeley: Cybelle Fox, Associate Professor of Sociology, and Paul Pierson, Professor of Political Science, both Haas Institute affiliated faculty.
Watch a recording of the talk above, which includes the sharp responses from Pierson and Fox.
Here was the teaser for the event:
We know about the one percent. The ultra-rich. The billionnaire class. But author Richard Reeves writes it’s the upper middle class that matters most. Those top 20 percent of earners are becoming more effective at passing wealth to their children, and – through zoning laws, schooling, occupational licensing, college application procedures, and the allocation of internships – more effective at keeping others from getting it. In his new book, Dream Hoarders: How the American Middle Class is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That is a Problem, and What to Do About It, Richard Reeves argues that we can do much more to protect opportunity for all and prevent the United States from becoming the very class-based society that early Americans rebelled against.
The discussion will be moderated by Cybelle Fox of the UC Berkeley Sociology Department and Paul Pierson of the UC Berkeley Political Science Department.
This event is co-sponsored by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society and the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE).
Please register to secure your spot.
Richard Reeves is a senior fellow at Brookings, where he focuses on social mobility, inequality, and family change. He’s worked as director of strategy for the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister and was named one of America’s top fifty thinkers by Politico.