Chelsea Green Publishing

Born on Third Base

Pages:288 pages
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603586832
Pub. Date September 23, 2016

Born on Third Base

A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good

By Chuck Collins
Foreword by Morris Pearl

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
September 23, 2016

$17.95

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.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Choice Reviews-

"Drawing on both engaging personal stories and economic research, Collins (Institute for Policy Studies) portrays an 'economic apartheid' of growing inequality of wealth and opportunity in the US, and urges citizens, especially the wealthiest, to recommit to the broader community to address it. Collins describes 'an empathetic barrier to change' that leads rich Americans to deride the industriousness of the less affluent. Raised in a “one percent” family, Collins understands how the wealthy are cut off from the wider society as their experiences lead them to adopt false myths of self-reliance and meritocracy. These views overlook the roles community and equity play in securing prosperity and well-being for rich and poor Americans. The overvaluing of self-reliance obscures the advantages of family wealth as well as the role of government programs in providing gains for the white middle class (in particular, home ownership) over other groups. Collins calls for empathy and solidarity among the rich, the affluent, and the poor to address inequality and environmental degradation. The book lists ways for the wealthy to connect to the larger society and support policies to bring about an equitable and sustainable future. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels."

Booklist-

"As the great-grandson of Oscar Meyer, Collins grew up in a wealthy and advantaged family. He considers himself part of the privileged 1 percent, “born on third base,” with only a short hop to make it to home plate. But Collins believes it’s time for our society to come to a different home, one where inequality is addressed in a new way, where the economy can be made more inclusive, and where the 1 percent can engage with the other 99 to become partners in transforming the future. Collins (99 to 1: How Inequality Is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do about It, 2012) once again presents a convincing and deeply thought-provoking argument in favor of not just the need for societal change but the importance of individual action in making change happen. Written in a well-crafted, conversational style, Collins’ latest is a gentle yet clear reminder to readers that real change starts by looking outside ourselves and making even the smallest connection with others.”

“I have never read a story remotely like the one Chuck Collins has to tell. Born to the one percent, in circumstances few of us can imagine, 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. ‘Come out of your gated communities and gated hearts,’ he writes, because outside lies the warmth of human solidarity.”--Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed

“Chuck Collins has already organized the rich against their own immediate economic interest. He and his colleagues at the Institute for Policy Studies were instrumental in blocking the Republican repeal of the federal estate tax for the wealthy. So when he writes in Born on Third Base about all the good that can come from the enlightened rich pressing for justice, not just charity, he speaks from experience as both an organizer and a former affluent heir. Partly autobiographical, this empowering light into a brighter future is a narrative you won’t want to miss. Chuck Collins walks the talk and can motivate, if anyone is able to, the super rich to fund systemic drives for change.”--Ralph Nader, consumer advocate, author, and lawyer

“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

Publishers Weekly-

"Collins (99 to 1), born to great privilege, takes a thoughtful, well-written, and carefully researched approach to solving the extreme imbalance in wealth distribution, directed toward one- and 99-percenters alike. Refreshingly, Collins not only talks the talk but walks the walk: at age 26 he gave up his $500,000 trust fund and dedicated his life to ending inequality. The book's first half outlines the problems of uneven wealth distribution, which have been made even more evident by the 2008 economic downturn. This part includes a section addressing racial issues in the U.S. and making the case for federal reparations for slavery. What Collins does even better than describing the challenge is, in the book's second half, outlining significant and specific solutions. He includes 10 elements of a program for the wealthiest 1% to follow, imploring readers to connect with both 'people around us' and 'people who are completely different.' He makes an appeal for 'humanity and empathy' at the book's very beginning, shows how he and others have worked to embody it, and reinforces the importance of this approach at the conclusion. Wherever readers fall on the economic scale, this is a worthwhile book to read, digest, and share."

“The American dream assures us that, if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll succeed. But the facts tell a different story: Everyone knows the system is rigged. In these trickle-down times, income inequality threatens to pit the 99 percent against the 1 percent in violent revolution—and, really, who can blame them? My fellow plutocrat Chuck Collins gets it. Born on Third Base explodes the myth of the self-made man, but it also celebrates true achievement in the classic American sense. This isn’t some self-hating rich guy; Collins has thought seriously about what it means to be a citizen, and to be a patriot. He makes the case that we all do better when we all do better, and he does it with compassion and humor. This book would give Ayn Rand nightmares.”--Nick Hanauer, entrepreneur; venture capitalist; coauthor of The True Patriot and The Gardens of Democracy

“Chuck Collins may have been born on third base, but he hits a grand slam with this powerful call to even the richest Americans to join their fellow citizens in challenging the obscene wealth gap that characterizes America today. He hammers all the curve balls thrown to justify inequality, writes eloquently but humbly of his experiences, and lays out a winning lineup of ways to bring Americans across class lines together for economic justice.”--John de Graaf, coauthor of Affluenza and Whats the Economy for, Anyway?

“Chuck Collins does the soul-searching, fundamental work of reminding us all that wealth inequality and injustice make everyone’s life worse, including those of us who are supposedly better off. No matter what your class background, Collins’s work is an insight into and inspiring call to action for why we all need to be two feet into the fight for a more just world –one that is based on shared prosperity and community, not individualized notions of success. People and the planet literally depend on it.”--Jessie Spector, executive director, Resource Generation

 “Sobering and inspiring, Chuck Collins has written a Declaration of Interdependence. A must read for anyone on third base who has forgotten that they’re part of a team.”--Peter Buffett, copresident, NoVo Foundation; composer; author of Life is What You Make It

“There are few tasks as urgent as a radical reorientation of the 1 percent, a radical re-engagement of ‘us’ with ‘them’—and a radical redeployment of the wealth created over the past century in order to address the problems of the next. Chuck Collins is our personal guide.”--Woody Tasch, founder, Slow Money Institute; author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money

“This is the engaging story of a courageous rich white guy who gave it all away, journeyed to the dark heart of inequality and deprivation in America, and became a leading thinker and activist for something much better for all of us, including the rich. Collins doesn’t disappoint. He is the real deal.”--James Gustave Speth, author of America the Possible and Angels by the River

“No one explains inequality better than Chuck Collins, and no one walks his talk with more integrity. All Americans—rich, poor, and in the shrinking middle—will benefit from his insights and be inspired by his example.”--Peter Barnes, cofounder, CREDO Mobile; author of With Liberty and Dividends For All

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chuck Collins

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 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.

AUTHOR VIDEOS

The Bernie Sanders Show - Chuck Collins on Social Equality

Bernie Sanders and Chuck Collins talk about our growing levels of income and wealth inequality and how we can create a more equal society.

Chuck Collins Talks About Mobile Homes

Chuck Collins Talks About Mobile Homes

TEDxJamaicaPlain - Wealthiest One Percent, Come Home!

Chuck Collins believes that extreme wealth inequality and our global ecological crisis are bad for everyone, including those with great wealth. He invites all of us -- but especially the wealthy of the United States -- to come home, deepening a stake in the common good and deploying time, social networks, and wealth to fixing the future.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming

What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming

By Per Espen Stoknes

Why does knowing more mean believing—and doing—less? A prescription for change

The more facts that pile up about global warming, the greater the resistance to them grows, making it harder to enact measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare communities for the inevitable change ahead.

It is a catch-22 that starts, says psychologist and economist Per Espen Stoknes, from an inadequate understanding of the way most humans think, act, and live in the world around them. With dozens of examples—from the private sector to government agencies—Stoknes shows how to retell the story of climate change and, at the same time, create positive, meaningful actions that can be supported even by deniers.

In What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming, Stoknes not only masterfully identifies the five main psychological barriers to climate action, but addresses them with five strategies for how to talk about global warming in a way that creates action and solutions, not further inaction and despair.

These strategies work with, rather than against, human nature. They are social, positive, and simple—making climate-friendly behaviors easy and convenient. They are also story-based, to help add meaning and create community, and include the use of signals, or indicators, to gauge feedback and be constantly responsive.

Whether you are working on the front lines of the climate issue, immersed in the science, trying to make policy or educate the public, or just an average person trying to make sense of the cognitive dissonance or grapple with frustration over this looming issue, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming moves beyond the psychological barriers that block progress and opens new doorways to social and personal transformation.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming

Per Espen Stoknes, Jorgen Randers

Paperback $24.95

Human Scale Revisited

Human Scale Revisited

By Kirkpatrick Sale

Big government, big business, big everything: Kirkpatrick Sale took giantism to task in his 1980 classic, Human Scale, and today takes a new look at how the crises that imperil modern America are the inevitable result of bigness grown out of control—and what can be done about it.

The result is a keenly updated, carefully argued case for bringing human endeavors back to scales we can comprehend and manage—whether in our built environments, our politics, our business endeavors, our energy plans, or our mobility.

Sale walks readers back through history to a time when buildings were scaled to the human figure (as was the Parthenon), democracies were scaled to the societies they served, and enterprise was scaled to communities. Against that backdrop, he dissects the bigger-is-better paradigm that has defined modern times and brought civilization to a crisis point. Says Sale, retreating from our calamity will take rebalancing our relationship to the environment; adopting more human-scale technologies; right-sizing our buildings, communities, and cities; and bringing our critical services—from energy, food, and garbage collection to transportation, health, and education—back to human scale as well.

Like Small is Beautiful by E. F. Schumacher, Human Scale has long been a classic of modern decentralist thought and communitarian values—a key tool in the kit of those trying to localize, create meaningful governance in bioregions, or rethink our reverence of and dependence on growth, financially and otherwise.

Rewritten to interpret the past few decades, Human Scale offers compelling new insights on how to turn away from the giantism that has caused escalating ecological distress and inequality, dysfunctional governments, and unending warfare and shines a light on many possible pathways that could allow us to scale down, survive, and thrive.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Human Scale Revisited

Kirkpatrick Sale

Paperback $24.95

2052

2052

By Jorgen Randers

Forty years ago, The Limits to Growth study addressed the grand question of how humans would adapt to the physical limitations of planet Earth. It predicted that during the first half of the 21st century the ongoing growth in the human ecological footprint would stop-either through catastrophic "overshoot and collapse"-or through well-managed "peak and decline."

So, where are we now? And what does our future look like?  In the book 2052, Jorgen Randers, one of the coauthors of Limits to Growth, issues a progress report and makes a forecast for the next forty years. To do this, he asked dozens of experts to weigh in with their best predictions on how our economies, energy supplies, natural resources, climate, food, fisheries, militaries, political divisions, cities, psyches, and more will take shape in the coming decades. He then synthesized those scenarios into a global forecast of life as we will most likely know it in the years ahead.

The good news: we will see impressive advances in resource efficiency, and an increasing focus on human well-being rather than on per capita income growth. But this change might not come as we expect. Future growth in population and GDP, for instance, will be constrained in surprising ways-by rapid fertility decline as result of increased urbanization, productivity decline as a result of social unrest, and continuing poverty among the poorest 2 billion world citizens. Runaway global warming, too, is likely.

So, how do we prepare for the years ahead? With heart, fact, and wisdom, Randers guides us along a realistic path into the future and discusses what readers can do to ensure a better life for themselves and their children during the increasing turmoil of the next forty years.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

2052

Jorgen Randers

Paperback $24.95

The Zero Waste Solution

The Zero Waste Solution

By Paul Connett

Waste is something we all make every day but often pay little attention to.  That's changing, and model programs around the globe show the many different ways a community can strive for, and achieve, zero-waste status.

Scientist-turned-activist Paul Connett, a leading international figure in decades-long battles to fight pollution, has championed efforts to curtail overconsumption and keep industrial toxins out of our air and drinking water and bodies. But he’s best known around the world for leading efforts to help communities deal with their waste in sustainable ways—in other words, to eliminate and reuse waste rather than burn it or stow it away in landfills.

In The Zero Waste Solution, Connett profiles the most successful zero-waste initiatives around the world, showing activists, planners, and entrepreneurs how to re-envision their community’s waste-handling process—by consuming less, turning organic waste into compost, recycling, reusing other waste,  demanding nonwasteful product design, and creating jobs and bringing community members together in the process. The book also exposes the greenwashing behind renewed efforts to promote waste incinerators as safe, nontoxic energy suppliers, and gives detailed information on how communities can battle incineration projects that, even at their best, emit dangerous particles into the atmosphere, many of which remain unregulated or poorly regulated.

An important toolkit for anyone interested in creating sustainable communities, generating secure local jobs, and keeping toxic alternatives at bay.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Zero Waste Solution

Paul Connett, Jeremy Irons

Paperback $24.95