The Velvet Rope Economy: How Inequality Became Big Business

October 31, 2020
The Velvet Rope Economy: How Inequality Became Big Business

From New York Times business reporter Nelson D. Schwartzcomes a gripping investigation of how a virtual velvet rope dividesAmericans in every arena of life, creating a friction-freeexistence for those with money on one side and a Darwinian strugglefor the middle class on the other side.In nearly every realm of daily life--from health care toeducation, highways to home security--there is an invisible velvetrope that divides how Americans live. On one side of the rope, fora price, red tape is cut, lines are jumped, appointments aresecured, and doors are opened. On the other side, middle- andworking-class Americans fight to find an empty seat on the plane, aplace in line with their kids at the amusement park, a collegeacceptance, or a hospital bed.We are all aware of the gap between the rich and everyone else,but when we weren't looking, business innovators stepped in toexploit it, shifting services away from the masses and finding newways to profit by serving the privileged. And as decision-makersand corporate leaders increasingly live on the friction-free sideof the velvet rope, they are less inclined to change--or evennotice--the obstacles everyone else must contend with. Schwartz's"must read" book takes us on a behind-the-scenes tour of this newreality and shows the toll the velvet rope divide takes onsociety.