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99 to 1 by Chuck Collins

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1 Coming Apart at the Middle

An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatalailment of all republics.—Plutarch (c. 46–120 CE)

For more than three decades, the United States has undertaken a dangerous social experiment: How much inequality can a democratic self-governing society handle? How far can we stretch the gap between the super-rich 1 percent and everyone else before something snaps?

We have pulled apart. Over a relatively short period of time, since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, a massive share of global income and wealth has funneled upward into the bank accounts of the richest 1 percent—and, within that group, the richest one-tenth of 1 percent.

This has been not just a U.S. trend but a global tendency, as the ...

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