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The Economic Other: Inequality in the American Political Imagination
  • Author Image
    Meghan Condon
  • Publisher Logo
    University of Chicago Press

The Economic Other: Inequality in the American Political Imagination

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Key Metrics

  • Meghan Condon
  • University of Chicago Press
  • Paperback
  • 9780226691879
  • 9.02 X 5.98 X 0.6 inches
  • 0.85 pounds
  • Political Science > American Government - General
  • English
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Book Description

Economic inequality is at a record high in the United States, but public demand for redistribution is not rising with it. Meghan Condon and Amber Wichowsky show that this paradox and other mysteries about class and US politics can be solved through a focus on social comparison. Powerful currents compete to propel attention up or down--toward the rich or the poor--pulling politics along in the wake.

Through an astute blend of experiments, surveys, and descriptions people offer in their own words, The Economic Other reveals that when less-advantaged Americans compare with the rich, they become more accurate about their own status and want more from government. But American society is structured to prevent upward comparison. In an increasingly divided, anxious nation, opportunities to interact with the country's richest are shrinking, and people prefer to compare to those below to feel secure. Even when comparison with the rich does occur, many lose confidence in their power to effect change.

Laying bare how social comparisons drive political attitudes, The Economic Other is an essential look at the stubborn plight of inequality and the measures needed to solve it.

The Economic Other: Inequality in the American Political Imagination

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