The ideologies of equal opportunity and individual responsibility that dominate American culture tend to obscure the casual connections between poverty and wealth. Uncovering these connections is one of the purposes of this book. Wealth and Poverty in America is an accessible collection of over 20 important essays on the complex relationship between the rich and poor in the United States. It first presents classic and contemporary selections that form theories of where wealth comes from and why wealth tends to concentrate in the hands of the few. This set of readings deals with wealth at a more systematic, rather than individual, level. Next, the book deals with the question of why certain individuals - based on position in the economy, or accident of birth - can expect to have greater or lesser chances of being rich (or poor), and how inequality gets reproduced. It goes on to offer a series of the most important classic and contemporary readings that focus on the life of the upper class and the daily experience of being poor in America. The final section opens up the question of what is possible in terms of the distribution of material rewards in America.
An editorial introduction and suggestions for further reading make this a valuable source of information and analysis on the realities of wealth and poverty in America.