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How the 99 Percent Live in the Great Recession

by Barbara Garson

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-385-53274-7
Publisher: Doubleday

How the economic recession is reshaping peoples' lives and prospects.

Garson (Money Makes the World Go Around: One Investor Tracks Her Cash Through the Global Economy from Brooklyn to Bangkok and Back, 2001, etc.) combines her skills as a dramatist with her activist's conscience in this study of the economic issues confronting individuals and families in different parts of the country. With brutal clarity, the author shows how job categories have been redefined and wages and salaries cut, often in half, as skilled workers find themselves replaced by temps and other contingent hires working for the minimum wage. Whether it is the members of New York City's “Pink Slip Club” or graduate professionals who have joined the ranks of the long-term unemployed, Garson powerfully highlights the similarities within the differences. She also shows how the transformation to contingent, or temporary, status has affected workers in upscale services and the financial industry, including hedge funds. Interestingly, the author profiles some of the technicians whose models caused the financial crash, many of whom continued to find employment on credit default swaps and other derivative products few understand. Garson also takes up household finance and the effects of the collapsed bubble on homeowners and investors. The author traces each step of the foreclosure process through individual case studies, which allow her to identify and dramatize the pitfalls set for the unknowing and the villains preying on the unaware. She does not exclude speculators, who fell victim to their own get-rich schemes.

A skillful presentation that lifts the veil too often hiding areas that should be brought to light.