2011-13 Money and Morality

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Together these books capture people in the economic extremes of our society -- the rich and the poor. In America, where "everything has it's price," money and morality define our incomes, lifestyles, and personal responsibilities. These Books of the Year help us understand our assumptions, and the role money plays in the decisions each of us make.


The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler
tells of the challenges low-income workers face as they struggle to support themselves and their families. America has developed an economic system with: government programs intended to help the poor but that often create barriers to financial stability;
industries built to make money from economically disadvantaged people; and individuals who struggle to make responsible choices with very few resources. Through personal interviews and careful analysis of individual, corporate, and governmental responsibilities, Shipler offers insights and recommendations that challenge prevailing beliefs.


The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
offers an engaging explanation of the inner workings of the financial crisis of 2008, and the people who actually made money from the disaster. This story of the crash of the U.S. financial markets is told with piercing candor, revealing the lives and decisions of those responsible for the crisis, exposing the business climate the decisions were made in, and the devastating consequences to unknowing individuals and communities. It challenges us to think about the moral dilemmas associated with “playing the markets.”