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Race and the Vanishing Middle Class – A talk with Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the MIT

Event date
Thursday, 8 September, 2016
Event time
11:00 to 12:30
Event place
Event Type
In-person event
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The National Institute of Economic and Social Research is delighted to host a seminar held by Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in which he will present his new book "Race and the Vanishing Middle Class".  The event will be chaired by our Director, Professor Jagjit S. Chadha.

"The middle class was critical to the success of the United States in the twentieth century. The middle class provided the manpower that succeeded in turning the corner to victory in two world wars in the first half of the century, and the middle class was the backbone of American economic dominance of the world in the second half. But now growing inequality is threatening the American middle class, and the middle class is vanishing before our eyes. It has lost almost a third of its share of American household income since 1970". 

This book provides a way to think about this growing disparity of incomes between rich and poor. The author argues that American history and politics have a lot to do with the way the increasing inequality has been distributed.  While rapidly-changing technology is an important part of this story, it is far from the whole story. The US troubled racial history of slavery and its aftermath also play an important part in how this growing divide is seen.

Seminar Slides: The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in Dual Economy

Peter Temin is the Elisha Gray II Professor Emeritus of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He received his B.A. from Swarthmore College in 1959 and his Ph.D. in Economics from MIT in 1964. Professor Temin was a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University, 1962-65, the Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at Cambridge University, 1985-86, Head of the Economics Department at MIT, 1990-93, and President of the Economic History Association, 1995-96.   Professor Temin's research interests include macroeconomic history, the Great Depression, industry studies in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and ancient Rome. His most recent books are The Roman Market Economy (Princeton University Press, 2013), Prometheus Shackled: Goldsmith Banks and England’s Financial Revolution after 1700 (Oxford University Press, 2013, with Hans-Joachim Voth), and The Leaderless Economy: Why the World Economic System Fell Apart and How to Fix It(Princeton University Press, 2013, with David Vines).

Date: Thursday 8th September 2016

Time: 12pm-13.30pm (lunch will be served)

Venue: National Institute of Economic and Social Research, 2 Dean Trench St, Smith Square, London SW1P 3HE

To Register: Places are limited, therefore to ensure attendance please RSVP as soon as possible to Luca Pieri:

Email: l.pieri [at] niesr.ac.uk

Tel: 020 7654 1931

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8 September 2016
11:00 - 12:30


2 Dean Trench StreetSmith Square
London, SW1P 3HE United Kingdom


In-person event