According to commonly repeated reports, wages and personal incomes have stagnated in the U.S. over the last twenty-five years for average Americans. A corollary argument asserts that the combination of flat living standards for the masses and rising standards for a privileged few have created a number of social ills. Spoiled Rotten presents a simple and contradictory argument: properly measured standards of material well-being have grown for practically all U.S. residents over the last twenty-five years, and this fantastic growth is responsible for a variety of negative social consequences. In developing their ideas about wealth and its influence, Goff and Fleisher look for grass-roots explanations. The problems the authors attribute to the growth in wealth include employment issues such as job selection and security, family issues such as illegitimacy and divorce, rising crime trends, educational issues such as sluggish SAT scores, and others. Further, the authors discuss how wealth has allowed Americans to create problems out of thin air, including many of the supposed environmental dangers, health care expenditures, and safety regulation. Given appropriate space are wealth’s many beneficial contributions to social issues. These benefits lead into the authors’ final analysis in the book: what to do about wealth’s negative effects without destroying its positive impacts?
Get recommended reads, deals, and more from Basic Books