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The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (April 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393345068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393345063
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 3.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (283 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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.

Customer Reviews

Read this book to understand the trouble we are in.
Kenneth C. Welch III
I would have liked more analysis about where Stiglitz thinks the current trends towards increasing inequality will lead society.
Jim Wilder
This latter point is absolutely essential to the argument of the book.
Hans G. Despain

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

362 of 392 people found the following review helpful By Adam on June 8, 2012
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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204 of 226 people found the following review helpful By Hans G. Despain on 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.
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491 of 577 people found the following review helpful By Alan F. Sewell on 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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