About the Book

Unjust Deserts

Unjust Deserts

How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance and Why We Should Take It Back
December 2009
Trade Paperback · 240 Pages
$17.95 U.S.
ISBN 9781595584861
The New Press

 

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Description

Warren Buffett is worth nearly $50 billion. Does he “deserve” all this money? Buffett himself will tell you that “society is responsible for a very significant percentage of what I’ve earned.”
Unjust Deserts offers an entirely new approach to the wealth question. In a lively synthesis of modern economic, technological, and cultural research, Gar Alperovitz and Lew Daly demonstrate that up to 90 percent (and perhaps more) of current economic output derives not from individual ingenuity, effort, or investment but from our collective inheritance of scientific and technological knowledge: an inheritance we all receive as a “free lunch.”
Alperovitz and Daly then pursue the implications of this research, persuasively arguing that there is no reason any one person should be entitled to that inheritance. Recognizing the true dimensions of our unearned inheritance leads inevitably to a new and powerful moral case for wealth redistribution—and to a series of practical policies to achieve it in an era when the disparities have become untenable.
Gar Alperovitz is the Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland. His previous books include The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and America Beyond Capitalism. He lives in Washington, D.C. Lew Daly is a senior fellow at Demos and the author of God and the Welfare State. He lives in New York City.