Written by Michael Rouleau
Willimantic, Conn: -- On April 29, Beacon Press will publish "Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis," a new book by CSU Professor of Sociology James Russell. The book has been named by "Publishers Weekly" as a top 10 book in Business and Economics for Spring 2014.
The book is already receiving critical acclaim. "James Russell is a formidable crusader with a gift for rendering an obtuse topic accessible," said Nomi Prins, author of "All the Presidents' Bankers" and "It Takes a Pillage." In "Social Insecurity," he has penned a book that will enrage citizens of all ages and political persuasions, illuminate them about the organized robbery of their economic futures by the financial services industry, and inspire them to action. More than a description of a retirement system coopted by predatory bankers and fund managers, Social Insecurity is also a passionate account of the complicity of the global political elite and their ideological zealots, complete with a Hollywood moment of Russell's victory in achieving reform measures that can benefit everybody.
Charles R. Morris, author of "The Trillion Dollar Meltdown" and "The Tycoons," writes, "Forget the TV ads of gray-haired retired couples on bicycle trips. If you're an average American, you won't have enough to retire on. The shift from old-fashioned pensions to 401(k)s has enriched Wall Street and jeopardized your future. Essential reading for anyone who works for a living--from millennials to boomers--James Russell's Social Insecurity explains what you lost and who benefited from it."
Helaine Olen, author of "Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry," agrees, calling the book "an absolutely necessary read! James Russell has written the book explaining how we all got sold on the ridiculous notion of do-it-yourself retirement savings, and why it was never, ever going to work for anyone but the financial services sector. A devastating indictment that nevertheless concludes with ideas for reversing a dangerous trend we can no longer afford to ignore."
The mass transition from pensions to 401(k)-type plans started in 1981 due to the implementation of regulations of the Revenue Act of 1978. The idea was that "defined contribution" programs like the 401(k) coincide with American capitalist values better than "defined benefit" programs like the pension.
However, Russell argues that the reality of the 401(k) is far different--and more detrimental--than the intention. "401(k)s do a better job of supporting Wall Street than they do retirement," said Russell. "The enormously powerful financial services industry benefits from the current growth of defined contribution plans [like the 401(k)] from which it draws commissions, interest payments and management fees."
"James Russell has penned a book that will enrage citizens of all ages and political persuasions, illuminate them about the organized robbery of their economic futures by the financial services industry, and inspire them to action," wrote Nomi Prins, author of "All the Presidents' Bankers" and "It Takes a Pillage."
In "Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis," Russell delves into the history of retirement in the United States, case studies of other 401(k)-type plans in other countries, myths and realities of "defined contribution" and "defined benefit plans", suggestions for reform and more. "I wanted to write a book not just for academics, but for the general public," said Russell when describing his intention for the book. "Awareness of the 'swindle' needs to be raised."
Russell is considered an international authority on retirement policy. He is the author of several books dealing with economic and social policy, as well articles featured in a number of publications. In addition to "Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis," Russell has authored numerous books over the past two decades. They include: "Escape from Texas: A Novel of Slavery and the Texas War of Independence" (Sloan Publishing, 2012); "Double Standard: Social Policy in Europe and the United States" (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006, 2009, 2015--3 editions); "Class and Race Formation in North America" (Prentice Hall, University of Toronto Press, 1994, 2008--2 editions) "Societies and Social Life" (Prentice Hall, Sloan Publishing, 1992, 1996, 2006, 2009--4 editions); "Clase y Sociedad en Estados Unidos," with Silvia Núñez García (Ed. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1997); "Modes of Production in World History" (Routledge, 1989) and "Marx-Engels Dictionary" (Greenwood Press, 1981)
Russell has taught in universities across the United States and as a Fulbright senior researcher professor in Mexico and the Czech Republic.