The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of Wealth Gap, by Matt Taibbi

This book, if judged by its cover, might appear like the numerous books highlighting the injustice and, the increasing wealth gap between the wealthy and the rest, clearly seen more than ever in our modern world, supported by figures . However the author, a prolific investigative reporter, a very rare bread indeed, has actually accumulated information and facts which clearly show, reasons and more importantly, why there is a systematic problems of injustice, which feeds on themselves. The system is clearly and drastically malfunctioning.

Investigating and reciting account after account of people in real situations from both sides of the Divide, Taibbi manages to proficiently weave a clear pattern not reflected in the media or any other information source I have come across. The greater narrative of the largest capitalist country in the world is both grievous and indefensible.

In a meritocracy, if the incentives are formulated incorrectly, instead of safeguarding justice and providing protection for those that need it, the opposite outcome is produced. The author shows in no uncertain terms, and in detail, with actual verifiable accounts, how the system is prejudice and protects the rich, while prosecuting the less fortunate.

Government attorneys and prosecutors looking to succeed following the most logical route to their promotion. Poverty stricken, low-income individuals, without realising the consequences, become the target. Victims, trapped in a continuous loop of crime, prevented by bureaucratic barriers from ever escaping a life of harassment. Criminal activities by financial gurus and their wealthy partners in crime, those individuals that have the money always find loopholes are exonerated. This is the capitalist way, everyone has no choice but to be in it for themselves, a human Darwinian jungle.

The Divide, explains in detail the inner world of government prosecutors. They are people just like any, trying to succeed in a broken meritocracy, with a flawed reward structure, lacking funding and support. looking at some of their courageous predecessors who have been ruined by attempting to capture criminals with unlimited cash and protection by the best legal attorneys, only to come out losers, they are wary. They are also aware of how things are done to get ahead and it’s not pretty. It’s a numbers game.

A drug addict, an illegal immigrant, a mother that can’t support her child, and fails to pay rent or fills up an application form incorrectly, all criminals in the eye of the law. Prosecuting one of them has the same merit, as any white-collar criminal. Getting them to plead guilty is as easy as a walk in the park. Why spend all your time and years trying to prosecute someone who stole billions, and has a team of the superior lawyers getting an acquittal based on a technicality, when you can have 10 homeless drug addicts prosecuted in one day.

All without ruffling any feathers, because that white-collar criminal, who stole billions, will not only take up all your time, resources, and outsmart your investigation, he will certainly not just stand there and do nothing while you do your job. He has paid for respect in the community, having donated millions to museums, parks, tax-deductible charities, and is portrayed as the victim etc. etc., and If you’re lucky he is only two degrees of separation from your boss, the one that will either fire you or give you a promotion. If you fail, which is the more likely scenario, you will be humiliated and fired.

One only needs to look at investigators who went up against Bernie Madoff, the 65 billion dollar fraudster, years before he was caught, and see how well they fared. America is filled with Enron executives, but until the money runs out, they will never be caught, unless of course they all run out of money together and that money belongs to the people, in which case a government bailout, in the form of tax payer money, is in order.

The most astonishing aspect about this well written book backed by excellent investigative journalism, with stunning revelations, is that very little has changed or trickled down to the mainstream media, who are either blind, or protecting a much bigger scam. It is business as usual in Wall Street.

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