[act-ma] 10/21 Social Insecurity by James W. Russell (Tues)

John Trumpbour jtrumpbo at law.harvard.edu
Mon Oct 20 11:32:43 PDT 2014

James W. Russell, "Social Insecurity: 401(ks)s and the Retirement Crisis"

Please join us for a Reading and Discussion with author and activist James Russell, author of a new book Social Insecurity (Beacon Press, 2014) that shows how the big financial firms and their political allies have destroyed the retirement prospects for millions of Americans.... And he provides a blueprint to fight back.

Introduction by John Trumpbour, Research Director, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School

7 pm, October 21, 2014

Porter Square Books
25 White Street
Cambridge, MA  02140


In 1981, shaky 401(k) plans began replacing traditional pensions. For the last thirty years, we've been advised that the best way to build one's nest egg is to heavily invest in 401(k)-type programs, even though such plans were originally designed to be a supplement to.... rather than the basis for retirement.

This financial experiment, promoted by neoliberals and aggressively peddled by Wall Street, has now come full circle, with tens of millions of Americans discovering that they would have been better off under traditional pension plans long since replaced. As James W. Russell explains, this do-it-yourself retirement system-in which individuals with modest incomes are expected to invest large sums of capital in order to reap the same rewards as high-end money managers-isn't working.

Social Insecurity tells the story of a massive and international retirement robbery-a substantial transfer of wealth from everyday workers to Wall Street financiers via tremendously costly hidden fees. Russell traces what amounts to a perfect swindle, from its ideological origins at Milton Friedman's infamous Chicago School to its implementation in Chile under Pinochet's dictatorship and its adoption in America through Reaganomics. Enraging yet hopeful, Russell offers concrete ideas on how individuals and society can arrest this downward spiral.

Contact info: john_trumpbour at harvard.edu

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