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The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Futureby Joseph E. Stiglitz
Synopses & Reviews
The top 1 percent of Americans control 40 percent of the nation's wealth. And, as Joseph E. Stiglitz explains, while those at the top enjoy the best health care, education, and benefits of wealth, they fail to realize that "their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live."
Stiglitz draws on his deep understanding of economics to show that growing inequality is not inevitable: moneyed interests compound their wealth by stifling true, dynamic capitalism. They have made America the most unequal advanced industrial country while crippling growth, trampling on the rule of law, and undermining democracy. The result: a divided society that cannot tackle its most pressing problems. With characteristic insight, Stiglitz examines our current state, then teases out its implications for democracy, for monetary and budgetary policy, and for globalization. He closes with a plan for a more just and prosperous future.
"In his concise and clearly argued newest, Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, outlines the economic, political, and social obstacles currently facing the U.S. and explores possibilities for how we can overcome them. Beginning with the financial collapse of 2008 and the ensuing Great Recession, Stiglitz (Globalization and Its Discontents) makes the now-ubiquitous point that 'the rich were getting richer, while the rest were facing hardships that seem inconsonant with the American dream.' The author opines that from this growing gap stem many other sobering social ills, such as 'pollution, unemployment, and... the degradation of values to the point where everything is acceptable and no one is accountable.' And while he contends that our current modus operandi is 'neither stable nor sustainable,' Stiglitz insists that inequality is not inherent in the system. He then goes on to lay out a plan for the long term, recommending practical changes to macroeconomic policies, taxes, labor laws, and how we navigate a globalizing world and dealing with the deficit. His visions of America's two possible futures reveals the extent of the dishearteningly large socioeconomic rift and its forecasted consequences, but Stiglitz's solutions — upheld by experience, perceptive analysis, and copious research — could very well bridge that divide, and reduce it in the process. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A forceful argument against America's vicious circle of growing inequality by the Nobel Prize-winning economist.
Inequality is the defining issue of our time. But it is not just a problem of the rich world. Inequality between rich and poor countries, and rich and poor people the world over, is much greater than within countries like America and Britain. It is the global 1% that now owns fully half the worldandrsquo;s wealthandmdash;the true measure of our age of inequality. Addressing that demands that we look outside of economics and beyond our national borders.
In The Political Origins of Inequality, Simon Reid-Henry takes a global perspective to explain how the crisis of welfare state capitalism in the rich world is linked to the wider ongoing condition of global poverty. Rich and poor the world over, he argues, engage in a wider political economy that has been structured over time in such a way as to reproduce a range of institutionalized forms of unfairness that are progressively distorting economies and democratic politics in countries around the world. This limits the ability of the poor to do what they are always counseled to do, to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. But it also undermines the position of the rich among us, creating a world where we are told to value security over freedom and special treatment over universal opportunity.
Inequality, Reid-Henry argues, is a function of the political choices we make, not just the abstract rules of the market and, drawing on the historical experience of different countries, he shows how it is within our power to address it. so it is within our power to address it. At a moment when the future of international development agenda is being set, we need to understand more than ever both why tackling global inequality is necessary and why it is also the only way to meet a great many other challenges confronting humanity today, from climate change and food insecurity to economic instability and migration. The problem is not that the world is falling apart. To the contrary, worlds we once thought were separate are colliding. It is our capacity to act in concert that is falling apart. As Reid-Henry shows, it is this that needs restoring most of all.
About the Author
Winner of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics, Joseph E. Stiglitz is the best-selling author of Making Globalization Work; Globalization and Its Discontents; and, with Linda Bilmes, The Three Trillion Dollar War. He was chairman of President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers and served as senior vice president and chief economist at the World Bank. He teaches at Columbia University and lives in New York City.
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