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Revolt of the Rich : How the Politics of the 1970s Widened America's Class Divide - David Gibbs

Revolt of the Rich

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

By: David Gibbs

Paperback | 18 June 2024 | Edition Number 1

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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.
Industry Reviews
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
David Gibbs has written a jargon free, carefully researched account of how conservative, right wing free market fundamentalism triumphed in both government policy making and in economic theory. His account of the demise of the class compromise and the rise of corporate backed political thought shows that the ideology of free markets did not win a neutral war of ideas. Its victory was a carefully orchestrated movement involving the coordination of politicians, businessmen, captains of industry and anti-Communist academics. -- Catherine Liu, University of California, Irvine
How did America become a land of grotesque excessive wealth for a few and widespread want and insecurity for so many? The Revolt of the Rich shows how much forethought and strategic maneuvering it took from the combined forces of the pro-corporate right, not least its many subsidized scholars and operatives. Yet historian David Gibbs also points to the presidency of Jimmy Carter as a pivot point in their success-and to the failure of progressives to engage in intentional joint work for the better future too many of us took for granted for too long... A wonderful and well executed book. -- Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America

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