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Automating Inequality by
WINNER:The2018 McGannon Center Book Prize and shortlisted for the Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice The New York Times Book Review:"Riveting." Naomi Klein: "This book is downright scary." Ethan Zuckerman, MIT: "Should be required reading." Dorothy Roberts, author ofKilling the Black Body: "A must-read." Astra Taylor, author ofThe People's Platform:"The single most important book about technology you will read this year." Cory Doctorow: "Indispensable." A powerful investigative look at data-based discrimination--and how technology affects civil and human rights and economic equity The State of Indiana denies one million applications for healthcare, foodstamps and cash benefits in three years--because a new computer system interprets any mistake as "failure to cooperate." In Los Angeles, an algorithm calculates the comparative vulnerability of tens of thousands of homeless people in order to prioritize them for an inadequate pool of housing resources. In Pittsburgh, a child welfare agency uses a statistical model to try to predict which children might be future victims of abuse or neglect. Since the dawn of the digital age, decision-making in finance, employment, politics, health and human services has undergone revolutionary change. Today, automated systems--rather than humans--control which neighborhoods get policed, which families attain needed resources, and who is investigated for fraud. While we all live under this new regime of data, the most invasive and punitive systems are aimed at the poor. InAutomating Inequality,Virginia Eubanks systematically investigates the impacts of data mining, policy algorithms, and predictive risk models on poor and working-class people in America. The book is full of heart-wrenching and eye-opening stories, from a woman in Indiana whose benefits are literally cut off as she lays dying to a family in Pennsylvania in daily fear of losing their daughter because they fit a certain statistical profile. The U.S. has always used its most cutting-edge science and technology to contain, investigate, discipline and punish the destitute. Like the county poorhouse and scientific charity before them, digital tracking and automated decision-making hide poverty from the middle-class public and give the nation the ethical distance it needs to make inhumane choices: which families get food and which starve, who has housing and who remains homeless, and which families are broken up by the state. In theprocess, they weaken democracy and betray our most cherished national values. This deeply researched and passionate book could not be more timely.
Call Number: HC79.P6 E89 2018
Publication Date: 2018-01-23
Economic Inequality by
Millions of Americans don't earn enough money to pay for decent housing, food, health care, and education. Increasingly, families and young people aren't doing better than their parents and grandparents before them. In fact, they're doing worse. And women and minorities earn less than white men. The American Dream is harder to achieve than ever before. Meanwhile, the rich keep getting richer. Many Americans are angry about economic inequality, and many are working on solutions. Readers will learn how state and local governments, businesses, and ordinary citizens--including young people--are fighting to close the gap between rich and poor, to preserve the promises of American democracy, and to give everyone a fair shot at the American Dream.
Call Number: E-Book
Publication Date: 2018-01-01
The Meritocracy Trap by
A revolutionary new argument from eminent Yale Law professor Daniel Markovits attacking the false promise of meritocracy. It is an axiom of American life that advantage should be earned through ability and effort. Even as the country divides itself at every turn, the meritocratic ideal - that social and economic rewards should follow achievement rather than breeding - reigns supreme. Both Democrats and Republicans insistently repeat meritocratic notions. Meritocracy cuts to the heart of who we are. It sustains the American dream. But what if, both up and down the social ladder, meritocracy is a sham? Today, meritocracy has become exactly what it was conceived to resist: a mechanism for the concentration and dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations. Upward mobility has become a fantasy, and the embattled middle classes are now more likely to sink into the working poor than to rise into the professional elite. At the same time, meritocracy now ensnares even those who manage to claw their way to the top, requiring rich adults to work with crushing intensity, exploiting their expensive educations in order to extract a return. All this is not the result of deviations or retreats from meritocracy but rather stems directly from meritocracy's successes. This is the radical argument that Daniel Markovits prosecutes with rare force. Markovits is well placed to expose the sham of meritocracy. Having spent his life at elite universities, he knows from the inside the corrosive system we are trapped within. Markovits also knows that, if we understand that meritocratic inequality produces near-universal harm, we can cure it. When The Meritocracy Trap reveals the inner workings of the meritocratic machine, it also illuminates the first steps outward, towards a new world that might once again afford dignity and prosperity to the American people.
Call Number: HT684 .M33 2019
Publication Date: 2019-09-10
With stark poignancy and political dispassion, Tightropedraws us deep into an "other America." The authors tell this story, in part, through the lives of some of the children with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Yamhill, Oregon, an area that prospered for much of the twentieth century but has been devastated in the last few decades as blue collar jobs disappeared. About one-quarter of these children died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. And while these particular stories unfolded in one corner of the country, they are representative of many places the authors write about, ranging from the Dakotas and Oklahoma to New York and Virginia. But here too are stories about resurgence, among them- Annette Dove, who has devoted her life to helping the teenagers of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as they navigate the chaotic reality of growing up poor; Daniel McDowell, of Baltimore, whose tale of opioid addiction and recovery suggests that there are viable ways to solve our nation's drug epidemic. Altogether, there emerges a picture of working-class families needlessly but profoundly damaged as a result of decades of policy mistakes. With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore.
Call Number: HN59.2 .K75 2020
Publication Date: 2020-01-14
The Forgotten Dimension of Diversity
Companies pay a lot of attention to issues of gender and race, and for very good reason. In this article, author Paul Ingram argues that it’s time to focus equally on social class disadvantage.
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