Author and social activist Chuck Collins will be at Book Beat on Wednesday, June 7th at 7 PM. He will be reading from and discussing his book Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good. This event is free and open to the public. If you have any questions or would like to reserve any copies of the book, please call Book Beat at (248) 968-1190.
As inequality grabs headlines, steals the show in presidential debates, and drives deep divides between the haves and have nots in America, class war brews. On one side, the wealthy wield power and advantage, wittingly or not, to keep the system operating in their favor—all while retreating into enclaves that separate them further and further from the poor and working class. On the other side, those who find it increasingly difficult to keep up or get ahead lash out—waging a rhetorical war against the rich and letting anger and resentment, however justifiable, keep us from seeing new potential solutions.
But can we suspend both class wars long enough to consider a new way forward? Is it really good for anyone that most of society’s wealth is pooling at the very top of the wealth ladder? Does anyone, including the one percent, really want to live in a society plagued by economic apartheid?
It is time to think differently, says longtime inequality expert and activist Chuck Collins. Born into the one percent, Collins gave away his inheritance at 26 and spent the next three decades mobilizing against inequality. He uses his perspective from both sides of the divide to deliver a new narrative.
Collins calls for a ceasefire and invites the wealthy to come back home, investing themselves and their wealth in struggling communities. And he asks the non-wealthy to build alliances with the one percent and others at the top of the wealth ladder.
Stories told along the way explore the roots of advantage, show how taxpayers subsidize the wealthy, and reveal how charity, used incorrectly, can actually reinforce extreme inequality. Readers meet pioneers who are crossing the divide to work together in new ways, including residents in the author’s own Boston-area neighborhood who have launched some of the most interesting community transition efforts in the nation.
In the end, Collins’s national and local solutions not only challenge inequality but also respond to climate change and offer an unexpected, fresh take on one of our most intransigent problems.
Listen to Chuck Collins on Love and Courage Podcast
“What Collins does even better than describing the challenge is, in the book’s second half, outlining significant and specific solutions…Wherever readers fall on the economic scale, this is a worthwhile book to read, digest, and share.” Publishers Weekly
“I have never read a story remotely like the one Chuck Collins has to tell. Born to the one percent, he grew an outsized conscience and gave up his inherited wealth for a life of fighting the vicious inequality that is destroying our country. Somewhere along the way, he came to understand that the rich can be part of the solution instead of the problem and started organizing them to join in the struggle for a fair economy. The result is an electrifying challenge to the affluent as well as the one percent.” —Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed
“A call to action for America’s wealthy and a warning shot across the bows of their yachts if they fail to act, Born on Third Base offers a clear and compelling case for why the privileged and powerful must act to reverse widening inequality of income, wealth, and political power in America.”–Robert B. Reich, former US Secretary of Labor; author of Saving Capitalism
“Born on Third Base explodes the myth of the self-made man, but it also celebrates true achievement in the classic American sense… Collins has thought seriously about what it means to be a citizen, and to be a patriot… This book would give Ayn Rand nightmares.”–Nick Hanauer, entrepreneur; venture capitalist; coauthor of The True Patriot and The Gardens of Democracy
Chuck Collins is a researcher, campaigner, storyteller, and writer based at the Institute for Policy Studies where he co-edits Inequality.org. He has written extensively on wealth inequality in previous books like 99 to 1, Wealth and Our Commonwealth (with Bill Gates Sr.), and Economic Apartheid in America as well as in The Nation, The American Prospect, and numerous other magazines and news outlets. Collins grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in the 1 percent as the great grandson of meatpacker Oscar Mayer, but at age 26 he gave away his inheritance. He has been working to reduce inequality and strengthen communities since 1982 and in the process has cofounded numerous initiatives, including Wealth for the Common Good (now merged with the Patriotic Millionaires), United for a Fair Economy, and Divest-Invest. He is also a leader in the transition movement, and a co-founder of the Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition and the Jamaica Plain Forum, both in the Boston-area community in which he lives.