During tonight’s talk, Matt Taibbi discusses the inequity of American crime and punishment, exploring the reasons why, as he shows in The Divide, America has, over the last two decades, been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery: Poverty has gone up; crime has gone down; and yet the prison population has doubled. And on the other end of the spectrum, financial fraud by the rich has wiped out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. Yet the rich have become massively richer. And virtually no one has gone to jail.
“The Divide” is Taibbi’s term for the seam in American life where two troubling trends — growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration — come together. His book is the first examination of these two alarming trends side-by-side and an exploration of what Taibbi reveals is a dramatic shift in the nature of American citizenship: our basic rights as citizens are now determined by our wealth or poverty focuses on the lives of real people.
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