Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

[Epub] ❧ Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good Author Chuck Collins – Webcambestmilf.info
  • Paperback
  • 288 pages
  • Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good
  • Chuck Collins
  • 24 May 2019
  • 9781603586832

10 thoughts on “Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good

  1. says:

    Just think what the world would be like if we had more Chuck Collins’ doing the Kwakiutl Northwest Indian potlatch thing (if you know your anthropology!) of proving your worth by giving away all your wealth? (The US Calvary thought the practice of the potlatch ceremony by Native leaders proof of lack of human development to the “civilized” stage, and perhaps even still barbaric, as surely consumer goods and wealth are to be acquired and kept as part of the American culture? These thoughts found their way into letters to the NYTs justifying genocide and US reservations using the early railroad, that gave the idea of packing humans into boxcars to Goebbels. Upon visiting and realizing that the Kwakiutls had well-developed, ethical and logical systems of thought that supported mass redistribution, Franz Boas, recipient of the first Ph.D. in anthropology from Oxford U, coined what may be the most important term of “cultural relativism” for a pluralistic society.)

    But I digress, and back to Collins, as that is what he did: gave away all his impressive wealth as a youth against all conventions. I met Collins only once circa 1996 after I had agreed to serve as president of the New Hampshire DSA (Democratic Socialist of America) chapter, and we had a joint meeting with a couple of Massachusetts DSA leaders, including Collins, who came up to Concord NH along with the visiting national DSA leader (whose name I cannot recall!) We had a total of about 80 members in the entire state, and when this leader of DSA came to meet with our group from DC, we got over 50 members to show up! (He’d remarked how he’d like to get that percentage of those that “show up” in any city or the national chapter.) Collins was a shining star, and he shared some early ideas from new organizations that still exist and are discussed here, including United for a Fairy Economy (UFE) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). (It may have been the first time I'd heard anybody use the then truly radical-socialist term of a "living wage", that took another decade for Democrats to at least mouth as important, and many of the Republican contenders for the '16 presidential race lowered themselves to use the term as a goal for "compassionate conservatives"! (Maybe there is some small reason for hope there...)

    Ever since Collins gave away his wealth he has admirably lived a full life of activism including trying to shame other wealthy to cough up some “community capital” of their own. I enjoyed reading about Collins’ more recent Boston community organizing and his expansion of a collaborative approach to local problem-solving in his hometown of the Jamaica Plains southern neighborhood of Boston. It is heartening to see how resources can be matched with need fairly easily if done with common sense, and I imagine the “community security clubs” could help build or rebuild the social capital lost by many across the US as isolation, alienation, and the level of unmet basic needs skyrocket. Since I’ve studied a bit about resilience in children and families, I enjoyed coming across the term “community resilience”, as that certainly is what social capital provides, and provided more of historically. Collins and his groups have worked with neighbors to identify common problems especially those that connect ecology and a betterment of our collective environment with the goal of economic sufficiency for individuals and families. All wonderful and uplifting examples that should be replicated elsewhere. I wanted to point to his earlier book, with a wonderful introduction by Barbara Ehrenreich 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality Is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do about It that I reviewed here https://www.goodreads.com/review/show....

    Collins does confirm for us how isolated the very wealthy are from the rest of society, so that often there is a lack of understanding of problems in the society. As well, opportunities for social mobility in the US are overall severely limited by low-wage jobs, even as media socializes us with what the “normal” family should possess (nice home and cars, high-tech toys) by which confusion, resentment, and anger breed when individuals question why they can’t “make it” and provide economic security for their families – what IS wrong with themselves? As the 1% dig in apparently against the rest this “class war” is bad for everybody, including the 1% because they don’t want to live fortressed in or threatened by an increasingly dysfunctional and volatile society. Some kind of redistribution of extreme wealth seems the only solution, but how many will do it, even following Collins lead?

    Collins has first-hand experience with the nature of philanthropy and charity in general not just missing the mark of helping a situation but that can actually damage and exacerbate inequality. It’s frustrating to be reminded that liberal giving can cause harm, although we certainly see that not just in the US but in aid across the globe. I’d learned with my years serving on a state board with Haymarket, who I imagine also has worked with Collins as both Boston-based, how funds needed to be designated to root-cause problems instead of their symptoms. (For example, instead of a contribution to the direct running of a homeless shelter we’d fund homeless people starting a newsletter for other homeless people that would build their community.) Collins, like Haymarket, starting hard discussions (for wealthy Whites on the Haymarket board!) about the “color of wealth” he knows is a huge issue. The wealthy Whites who started Haymarket started to discuss what that wealth and color meant for their focus on social justices issues like racism, and it led to the organization advocating for anti-racism and prejudice reduction work over all over, attempts to integrate an analysis of systemic racism in the work, and turned internally to examine their own racism. (Those were amazing times in the “deep North”!) This led to a couple of the first national conference on “Whiteness” that we held working with the remarkable Community Change, Inc., that is also still focusing on anti-racism in Boston after these many decades. Although Collins repeated mentions race and class as intertwined in a system of privilege that benefitted him, and how race is specifically addressed in his works in the diverse community of Jamaica Plains, I was curious about and wished to hear his views of current White racism in the greater Boston area still so infamously known for the desegregation attempt of forced busing.

    Collins says what is obvious to anybody paying attention: wealth destroys community. I’ve known that each and every change to the tax structure in the US, well over a dozen changes for well over a century, have taxed the top less. We’ve ignored the resulting and worsening “economic apartheid” for too long, and likely paid for it, in part, with the Trump presidency. When the wealthiest paid over 90% in taxes for the privilege of amassing a fortune via our incorporation laws those tax laws were considered fair “give back” and, indeed, corporate lawyers, as for the anti-trust legislation a bit later, wrote the damn laws! My own view is that we erred when the incorporation law was allowed to quickly define the “community good” a corporation was to provide back to a nation-state as success in selling something to somebody. The US responded to mass fortunes by allowing them both as accumulated off the backs of its laborers but also protected under corporatization, but corporations were to make our society better in return. This mistake has both reified consumerism and has done much to undermine democracy. The “speed up at the plant” of Reaganomics meant many more corporate mergers and the rapid trajectory of wealth particularly for those individuals in the financial markets. As taxes decreased on corporations, “corporate welfare” like kickbacks and abatements increased.

    I do feel a bit of melancholy and dismay considering how many decades we’ve had progressive organizations working specifically on dismantling economic inequality. Why do little success? What do we need to do different now? I’m older, and write my little checks here and there, and, yes, I did feel Collin’s optimism and idealism that we really just need to learn how to listen, plan, and organize in our communities better at the Women’s March I attended last month, but for all his example and perfect sense Collins is unable to get the rest of the 1% to see the folly of their way. Sometimes I believe that terms he uses like “responsible wealth”, is like that of “corporate citizenship”: both contradiction in terms, and are barely possible only through specific legislation and enforcement of that legislation. I’ve long appreciated “change theory” that I know Collins embraces, too, but the sharks continue to have to eat. We have to find some other fodder for the sharks (the 1%) to eat.

    Check out Collins’ excellent site, Inequality.org, and look at the difference between income inequality and wealth inequality. We know most all wealth is inherited, not made or earned, yet we’re strongly socialized to believe the latter, and that is may well be a result of our hard work. Our lack of understanding of wealth and poverty as well as a complacent middle-class prevents claim on the economic equality front. Sometimes I tell the Bertell Ollman joke - how Henry Ford II earned his fortune? Henry was down to his last nickel, and with it he bought a single apple. All night, he polished and shined that apple so by the next day he could sell it for a dime! With the dime, he bought two apples. Again, all night he polished and shined those two apples, and the next day his dad died and left him $10 million dollars.

  2. says:

    Well written, very personal book about bringing the very rich back into our economic community. Collins advocates sound policy and strategy, but there is quite a lot of Pollyanna-esque story telling and some too neatly wrapped "quotes". The book is better when it speaks to solid policy, regulatory, and legal action. Less good when it encourages us 99%-ers to do the work of connecting with the super rich and forge "real relationships". Is it possible? Maybe for some. But I would argue it's a bit like laying responsibility for sexual assault prevention on women's shoulders. Is there some stuff we can do? Sure, but our power/options are limited because we are disproportionately negatively affected by the issue and we don't benefit from upholding the current system.

  3. says:

    Wow! I had very high expectations for this book, having attended an All Star II conference at Star Island at which Chuck Collins was the theme speaker. So, I'd waited eagerly since July for the book's publication. Worth the wait! It exceeded my expectations because it not only contained the information and thoughts I'd anticipated but it also read so well, conveying Chuck's gentle sense of humor and breadth of soul. The book felt like a conversation with Chuck. Amazing!

    The title tells you the perspective of the book. The contents are clearly the result of decades of doing the hard work of challenging economic inequality which involves crossing a lot of lines, creating positive communities and going to a hell of a lot of meetings. Chuck has used his time well, bringing a keen intelligence and love of people to issues that are thorny at best, terrifying in their scope and meaning for humanity's future. He really has much to say! For me, the book was a renewal of my faith that working together, we can create a future that is economically equitable, Earth and soul healing. This sounds lofty, but Chuck makes it doable, practical and "enriching". This book is going to stick with me! Buy your own copy.

  4. says:

    Who knew how much I'd learn about the tax system and wealth, and in the most humane and engaging way possible. Chuck Collins has written a book that all who care about the future of this planet need to read. I especially enjoyed reading about real people who are stepping out of their 1 percent privilege to reconnect with the rest of the world.

  5. says:

    Man, I love this dude. Do me a favor, buy this book and send it to all your rich privileged friends. It's so refreshing to have someone "born on third" just straight up admit it. Maybe he's selling out his class, but I think (as does he) that he's freeing them from their own greed and confusion. I especially love his coverage of the racial wealth gap and reparations. Maybe the super rich white guys will save us! And maybe that makes sense cuz they created the problem of inequality in the first place, right?

  6. says:

    A nice little book focused on engaging the one-percent in the movement against inequality. One thing I don't like is that it seems like he didn't really see any place for class warfare, which I think can sometimes be a useful tool. The great thing about the book is that Collins is a really great storyteller. The book is filled with illustrations from his life--it's one of those books that makes you feel like what you are doing is worthwhile. I think the most important point that he makes is that the wealthy are not living fulfilled lives because they lack community and they are isolated from the rest of society. He advocates for bringing them back "home" and allowing them to rejoin community--which means they have to perhaps give up their wealth and joining the fight for equality.

  7. says:

    read this book to understand the societal support aka 'entitlement programs' that allowed the US to have such an economic surge after WWII that carried the (white) GIs and their future offspring, generations, to prosperity to this day.


  8. says:

    Very enlightening read

    I was turned onto thus book after listening to an interview with the author and his discussion about the subject matter sounded very interesting. I am glad I read this book, it has helped to change my views on income inequality.

  9. says:

    An idea book focused on establishing income equality in the U.S. Good ideas, real stories and how to examples. This book should be used in finance and sociology classes in high schools and universities.

  10. says:

    Everyone ought to read this. Challenges our assumptions about the complex impact of the deep wealth divide.

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