A society top-heavy with billionaires may seem like a paradise of upward mobility, but it actually more closely resembles a boneyard of broken dreams for all but a lucky few. Between 1980 and 2008, the incomes of the bottom 90 percent of Americans grew by a meager 1 percent compared to a whopping 403 percent for the top .01 percent. We tend to regard these large fortunes as proof of a meritocracy, yet there is evidence that members of today's super-rich are any more talented or hardworking than were the elite of a generation ago. Via vivid profiles of billionaires--ranging from philanthropic capitalist Bill Gates and the infamous Koch brothers to brazen private equity baron Stephen Schwarzman-- Billionaires' Ball debunks the tion that they deserve their grand fortunes, when such wealth is really a by-product of a legal and ecomic system that's become deeply flawed and is w threatening the quality of life and very functioning of our democracy.
Linda McQuaig is the author of seven Canadian best sellers and has been a national reporter for the Toronto Globe and Mail, a senior writer for Maclean's, and a political columnist for the Toronto Star. Author of three books, Neil Brooks is director of the Graduate Program in Taxation at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.