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The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future [Kindle Edition]

Joseph E. Stiglitz
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (350 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A forceful argument against America's vicious circle of growing inequality by the Nobel Prize–winning economist.


America currently has the most inequality, and the least equality of opportunity, among the advanced countries. While market forces play a role in this stark picture, politics has shaped those market forces. In this best-selling book, Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz exposes the efforts of well-heeled interests to compound their wealth in ways that have stifled true, dynamic capitalism. Along the way he examines the effect of inequality on our economy, our democracy, and our system of justice. Stiglitz explains how inequality affects and is affected by every aspect of national policy, and with characteristic insight he offers a vision for a more just and prosperous future, supported by a concrete program to achieve that vision.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“The single most comprehensive counterargument to both Democratic neoliberalism and Republican laissez-faire theories. While credible economists running the gamut from center right to center left describe our bleak present as the result of seemingly unstoppable developments—globalization and automation, a self-replicating establishment built on 'meritocratic' competition, the debt-driven collapse of 2008—Stiglitz stands apart in his defiant rejection of such notions of inevitability. He seeks to shift the terms of the debate.” (Thomas B. Edsall - New York Times Book Review)

“An impassioned argument backed by rigorous economic analysis.” (Kirkus Reviews)

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 851 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (April 8, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007MKCQ30
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,834 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
416 of 448 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Critical Warning for America June 8, 2012
By Adam
Format:Hardcover
The Price of Inequality is an eloquent analysis of inequality in the United States and what it means for our political system, economy and society. The book does a good job of laying out the facts.

One sentence basically says it all: "The top 1 percent of Americans gained 93 percent of the additional income created in the country in 2010, as compared with 2009." Now think of that in terms of a party with 100 people and big pizza with 100 slices. Basically it means that one rich guy gobbles up 93 slices of pizza. The other 99 get to divvy up the other seven.

Stiglitz does an especially good job of refuting the received wisdom among conservatives: that incomes are in proportion to productive contribution to society. Instead, the book shows that much of our extraordinary income concentration is due to "rent seeking" by the wealthy elite, and that very often this involves taking advantage of taxpayers. We have a system that actively redistributes income and wealth from huge numbers of people at the bottom of the pyramid to a tiny number at the very top.

As the book shows, extreme income inequality is really a kind of cancer that infects almost every aspect of our social, political, economic and even legal system. A tiny elite is able to effectively purchase laws and regulations that work in its favor. For example, bankruptcy laws are designed to favor banks over homeowners and holders of student debt, even though the banks have access to much better information and expertise when making these loans. One idea that occurs throughout the book is that we should have "one person one vote" not "one dollar one vote." and yet the evidence is clear we are moving toward even more influence for those with money.
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232 of 255 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and persuasive June 8, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Income inequality and wealth inequality have skyrocketed in the last 30 years. There is no dispute about this, but there are disputes over both the causes of this phenomenon and its effects.

In one sentence summary for those of you who like a very short review, this book has a threefold agenda. First to document the widely accessible and now well-known phenomenon of inequality, second to explain its cause and third understand its effects.

Also note that Stiglitz's book is very much an elaboration of his 2011 Vanity Fair article "Of the 1%, for the 1%, by the 1%." This article provides an excellent summary of the basic argument.

For those of you who like a longer review I will now provide a rather lengthy summary for those interested in the crucial issues of inequality, which are the root cause of the Occupy movement (see Richard Wolff excellent book _Occupy the Economy_, Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism (City Lights Open Media)) and global tensions (see James K. Galbraith's indispensable _Inequality and Instability_, Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just Before the Great Crisis).

Stiglitz's book is really two books, the first book is 290 pages of very well argued and accessible text aimed at the above threefold agenda. The second book is 100 pages of notes, documentation, and very excellent citations and references. My review will concentrate on the text.

In chapter one Stiglitz emphasizes that the phenomena of income inequality has been occurring well before the financial crisis of 2008.
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563 of 655 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spot-on diagnosis, but weak medicine? June 14, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm generally a Republican voter who leans toward the small businessperson's agenda of favoring small government and the lowest practical amounts of taxes and governmental regulations. However, several things have challenged my view in recent years:

* The financial collapse of 2008 took most all of us by surprise. We didn't realize how fragile our economy was or how easily it could be brought to the very brink of complete meltdown. The progress of economic recovery has also been astonishingly slow and even now the prospect of another leg down seems to be looming.

* As a student of economics I am familiar with how old-time Progressives approached the depressions of the late 1800s and early 1900s. They recognized that the primary problem was an imbalance between production and consumption. Consumers did not earn enough income to purchase the goods and services that the capitalists produced. They understood that producers and consumers must prosper together, so they lobbied to raise the minimum wage, require the payment of premiums for overtime hours, encourage the formation of labor unions, and enact Social Security and Unemployment programs to provide a floor under purchasing power when the economy went slack. Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was based on these ideas of raising consumer's purchasing power. I believe they did stabilize the economy in the 1930s and were the basis of our post-WWII prosperity.

* I'm a Reagan Conservative who believes that Reagan's Supply Side agenda of cutting taxes was correct economic policy in the 1980s. However, it is a much different thing to cut maximum marginal taxes from 70% to 28% as Reagan did than to cut them from 39% to 15% (capital gains and dividends) as Bush did.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Sales Job
The book is tour de force on inequality, but I felt it was intellectually dishonest in that it ignored the role of capital in the economy. Read more
Published 23 hours ago by Robert C. Glennon
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent book
Published 1 day ago by Miguel N.
4.0 out of 5 stars This is very insightful book that show how a very ...
This is very insightful book that show how a very small percentage of our society ensures that we stay divided so they can reap the benefiits. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Luis Gonzalez
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Stiglitz at his best.
Published 3 days ago by dave r.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book to read
Good book to read. Some may disagree, but if offer great suggestions. Our country must balance the tax burden it does not mean higher taxes, just fair taxes.
Published 4 days ago by Sultan Saeed
5.0 out of 5 stars Spot on.
Hit the nail(s) on the head -- hard.
Published 6 days ago by Jimmy C
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating - Depressing
Very good explanation of what has created our current state of inequality and how we can go about reversing that. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Beatrice Snodgrass
2.0 out of 5 stars A longer and better edited version of a high schoolesque write-up of...
I was very surprised by all the positive reviews. A little bit about where I am coming from - I am politically liberal and I agree with the book's premise that inequality in... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Norman
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
The point is well made, but the book is very repetitive.
Published 11 days ago by Geoff Connor
3.0 out of 5 stars Necessary propaganda
I grew up in cold war Greece. The first six years of my life the country was run by the kind of dictatorship the "free market" side of the cold war had supported (and often... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Athan
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More About the Author

Joseph E. Stiglitz is a professor of economics at Columbia University and the recipient of a John Bates Clark Medal and a Nobel Prize. He is also the former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank. His books include Globalization and Its Discontents, The Three Trillion Dollar War, and Making Globalization Work. He lives in New York City.

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