Full disclosure: Chuck Collins, the author of Born on Third Base, is a personal friend and a colleague at the Institute for Policy Studies. So, after he gave me a copy at the conclusion of a workshop on economic inequality to which I had been invited only at his urging, it was out of friendship that I cracked it open on the plane ride home the next day.
But that’s not what made me get choked up reading the preface. Out of the thousand odd books I’ve read in my life, I don’t recall that happening before.
Born on Third Base is an important book, and a throughly enjoyable one. Chuck’s perspective is not unique, but it is rare. As the great-grandson of Oscar Mayer, Chuck truly was born on third base. At a young age, he did something remarkable. He gave away his wealth. Since then, he’s spent the better part of his career working against economic injustice.
But Born on Third Base is not Chuck’s autobiography. Rather, it is his perspective on the ills that accompany America’s extreme economic inequality and his vision for a more equal and connected American society. It is a vision only a person who lived an entitled life, as Chuck did, then left it behind, could share.
I’ve read many books on economic inequality. Each has its own value. Unavoidably, there is overlap. If you’ve read the books I have, you’ll find coverage of topics you’ve already studied in Born on Third Base. Mostly, however, you’ll come to understand how America’s extreme inequality does not even benefit the wealthy themselves. You’ll also better understand how economic injustice connects to the other great challenges facing American society, such as climate change and racial inequality. Most importantly, you’ll appreciate the stake the wealthy have in closing the gigantic wealth and income gaps in American society.
In Born on Third Base, Chuck Collins shares his unshaken belief that the wealthy themselves are potential allies, not enemies, in the struggle for economic justice. He makes a great, and truly hopeful, case. Will the struggle for economic justice be won? I don’t know. But I do know our chances are infinitely better with one percenters joining the fight. Born on Third Base explains to those one percenters why they should and to the 99% how to make it happen.