The questions raised by a study of class and inequality are important, but often complex. This book succeeds in making them understandable without oversimplifying, and its breadth, originality, and easy style will appeal to a wide readership.
Peter Saunders covers theories of social class as well as evidence on class inequalities in the contemporary period. He analyses why class inequalities exist, whether they are inevitable, whether they are unjust, and how they are changing. The analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date and includes information on how the distribution of wealth and income and social mobility chances have been changing during the Thatcher years. It also explores how the class structure is being affected by developments such as the spread of privatization and individual shareholdings, the rise of the 'yuppies', and the emergence of an underclass. On the theoretical side Professor Saunders gives equal weight to marxist, social-democratic, and neo-liberal perspectives on class and inequality, and writers as diverse a Karl Marx, John Rawls, and Friedrich Hayek all receive serious and balanced consideration.