In their new book, The Trouble with Billionaires, York Professor Neil Brooks, a tax law expert at Osgoode Hall Law School, and Canadian author Linda McQuaig make the case that the massive fortunes of the ultra-rich – widely considered benign or even beneficial to society – are actually detrimental to everyone else.
The glittering lives of billionaires may seem like harmless sources of entertainment, the authors maintain, but such concentrated economic power reverberates throughout society, threatening the quality of life and the very functioning of democracy.
Brooks and McQuaig launch their new book today in Room 519 of the York Research Tower, from 12.30 to 2pm. They argue it’s no accident that the United States claims the most billionaires – but suffers from among the highest rates of infant mortality and crime and the shortest life expectancy, as well as the lowest rates of social mobility and electoral political participation in the developed world.
Our society tends to regard large fortunes as evidence of great talent or accomplishment, say Brooks and McQuaig. Yet the vast new wealth isn’t due to an increase in talent or effort at the top, but rather to changing social attitudes legitimizing greed and to government policy changes that favour the new elite.
For more information about the book, visit The Trouble with Billionaires website or read their op-ed about billionaires, philanthropy and taxes in the Huffington Post.
Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin