Book Launch

Book Talk | Poverty, by America

04/03 Monday | 6pm

Registration for this event is full. We are currently seeking a larger event space to accommodate more guests and will reach out if this occurs. The recording of this event will be available on IPK’s YouTube channel following the event.

Join the Institute for Public Knowledge and the Robin Hood Foundation for a book talk on Poverty, by America, with the author Matthew Desmond in conversation with Robin Hood’s CEO, Richard Buery, moderated by Eric Klinenberg.

The United States, the richest country on earth, has more poverty than any other advanced democracy. Why? Why does this land of plenty allow one in every eight of its children to go without basic necessities, permit scores of its citizens to live and die on the streets, and authorize its corporations to pay poverty wages? 

In this landmark book, acclaimed sociologist Matthew Desmond draws on history, research, and original reporting to show how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor. Those of us who are financially secure exploit the poor, driving down their wages while forcing them to overpay for housing and access to cash and credit. We prioritize the subsidization of our wealth over the alleviation of poverty, designing a welfare state that gives the most to those who need the least. And we stockpile opportunity in exclusive communities, creating zones of concentrated riches alongside those of concentrated despair. Some lives are made small so that others may grow.


Matthew Desmond is the Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology at Princeton University and the founding director of the Eviction Lab. His last book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award, among others. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Desmond is also a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine.

Richard R. Buery, Jr., is the CEO of Robin Hood, New York City’s largest local poverty fighting philanthropy.  Mr. Buery is a former Deputy Mayor of the City of New York, and previously was the chief executive officer at Achievement First, a charter school network and Children’s Aid Society, one of the city’s oldest and largest child welfare agencies.  Mr. Buery is a New York City native, a graduate of Harvard and Yale Law School.  He serves on several nonprofit boards and has taught at Yale Law School, New York Law School, Baruch College, NYU Tandon School of Engineering and NYU Wagner School of Public Service, where he currently is a Public Service Fellow.

Eric Klinenberg is Helen Gould Shepard Professor of Social Science and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. He is the author of Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life (Crown, 2018), Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (The Penguin Press, 2012), Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America’s Media (Metropolitan Books, 2007), and Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2002), as well as the editor of Cultural Production in a Digital Age, co-editor of Antidemocracy in America (Columbia University Press, 2019), and co-author, with Aziz Ansari, of the New York Times #1 bestseller Modern Romance (The Penguin Press, 2015). His scholarly work has been published in journals including the American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, and Ethnography, and he has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and This American Life.

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