Automating Inequality

Automating Inequality

How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor

Virginia Eubanks

Poverty in America is not invisible. We see it, and then we look away. Our denial runs deep. It is the only way to explain a basic fact about the United States: in the world’s largest economy, the majority of us will experience poverty. According to Mark Rank’s groundbreaking life-course research, 51 percent of Americans will spend at least a year below the poverty line between the ages of 20 and 65. Two-thirds of them will access a means-tested public benefit: TANF, General Assistance, Supplemental Security Income, Housing Assistance, SNAP, or Medicaid. 1 And yet we pretend that poverty is a puzzling aberration that happens only to a tiny minority of pathological people.

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