It is commonly assumed that the best way to help the poor out of their misery is to allow the rich to get richer, that if the rich pay less taxes then all the rest of us will be better off, and that in the final analysis the richness of the few benefits us all. And yet these commonly held beliefs are flatly contradicted by our daily experience, an abundance of research findings and, indeed, logic. Such bizarre discrepancy between hard facts and popular opinions makes one pause and ask: why are these opinions so widespread and resistant to accumulated and fast-growing evidence to the contrary?
This short book is by one of the world s leading social thinkers is an attempt to answer this question. Bauman lists and scrutinizes the tacit assumptions and unreflected-upon convictions upon which such opinions are grounded, finding them one by one to be false, deceitful and misleading. Their persistence could be hardly sustainable were it not for the role they play in defending - indeed, promoting and reinforcing - the current, unprecedented, indefensible and still accelerating growth in social inequality and the rapidly widening gap between the elite of the rich and the rest of society.
Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017) was Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Leeds, UK. His books have become international bestsellers and have been translated into more than thirty languages. His many publications include Liquid Modernity, Liquid Love, The Art of Life, Living on Borrowed Time and, most recently, This is not a diary.
Introduction 1 1 Just how unequal are we today? 6 2 Why do we put up with inequality? 20 3 Some big lies on which a bigger one floats 27 4 Words against deeds: an afterthought . . . 90 Notes 97