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Inequality: What Can Be Done? Paperback – January 22, 2018

4.2 out of 5 stars 84 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


“Tony Atkinson, in many ways the father of modern inequality research, has [written] a terrific new book.”Paul Krugman, New York Times

“[Atkinson] does not mind speaking uncomfortable truths. Among them: that the comfort and opportunity provided by wealth matter just as much as the consumption that wealth affords; that holding down a job may not be enough to provide most workers with a standard of living that keeps up with economic growth; and that economic power helps protect itself in subtle and pervasive ways which might well demand an interventionist government response. Sir Anthony’s answer might not be the right one. But if his book reminds the reader how far out of fashion the policies of the post-war decades have fallen, it also conveys how skewed the economy of today might look to an observer from the not so distant past―or, perhaps, from the not so distant future.”The Economist

“Like it or loathe it, this is ambitious stuff.”Tim Harford, Financial Times

“Atkinson’s book is magisterial. It is the definitive analysis of inequality in Britain and how to reduce it, as viewed through the standard professional economics prism of Utilitarianism. While grounded in sophisticated theory and state-of-the-art quantitative evidence, the book carries through to specific policy recommendations on standard matters such as tax rates, benefits and tax reliefs.”Paul Collier, Times Literary Supplement

“Provides us with the broad outlines of a new radical reformism… [Atkinson] sets forth a list of concrete, innovative, and persuasive proposals meant to show that alternatives still exist, that the battle for social progress and equality must reclaim its legitimacy, here and now… Witty, elegant, profound, this book should be read: it brings us the finest blend of what political economy and British progressivism have to offer… This is a book written by an optimist and a citizen of the United Kingdom, Europe, and the world: the broad sense it conveys of a more just economy is one of its many appealing qualities. It will stand as a model whatever the outcome of one election or another.”Thomas Piketty, New York Review of Books

“Atkinson is a first-rate economist who long ago mastered the orthodoxy, and so is well-placed to take it to bits. Patiently, he explains why excessive profits may not be competed away, and why laissez-faire cannot be relied on to get the most out of every resource… Atkinson also has a keen sense of history. He explains how anti-trust laws in the U.S., nowadays narrowly justified in efficiency terms, were originally born out of concerns about fairness. He highlights, too, how the course of industrial technology has often been set by the planners’ guiding hand. All this helps him break out of the frighteningly narrow terrain that economists concede to public policy.”Tom Clark, The Guardian

“Though it has not attracted the celebrity attention, in many respects Atkinson’s [Inequality] is more important than Thomas Piketty’s pathbreaking Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and is the perfect sequel. Where Piketty explained the tendency of wealth and income to concentrate, Atkinson digs deeper into what drove this shift and why conventional remedies will not reverse the trends. He has a far surer grasp than Piketty of the political dynamics that made possible the anomalous egalitarian era of the 30 glorious years after World War II.”Robert Kuttner, American Prospect

“Atkinson knows his stuff. He understands arguments used by free marketeers (largely successfully) to marginalize inequality as a front-and-center issue… This is why Atkinson devotes much space in Inequality to rebutting these arguments and asserting that tackling the rich–poor divide should, and can, be a priority… By presenting a strategic combination of new and established ideas, Atkinson shows why addressing the growing pervasiveness of inequality in the twenty-first century requires a sustained attack on many fronts. It also requires seeing economics not just as a debate about numbers but as a debate about people… Atkinson shows what might be possible if we stretch our collective imagination and focus on innovative ways to address what is emerging as the defining issue of our time.”Mark Triffitt, Australian Book Review

“One of the world’s leading economists, mentor of Piketty and associate of Stiglitz, has written this accessible overview of why inequality matters, and why we need a series of urgent policies to tackle it. You don’t need to be an economist to appreciate this impressive synthesis of his life’s thinking and work.”Mike Savage, Big Issue

Inequality is a real accomplishment. It represents the first comprehensive, realistic, and detailed proposal for countering growing economic inequality―and it’s done not by some energetic graduate student but by a seasoned economist who’s been working on these issues for more than forty years.”Daniel K. Finn, Commonweal

About the Author

Anthony B. Atkinson was a Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, and Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Product details

  • ASIN : 0674979788
  • Publisher : Harvard University Press; Reprint edition (January 22, 2018)
  • Language: : English
  • Paperback : 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9780674979789
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0674979789
  • Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
  • Dimensions : 6.25 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 84 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
84 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on May 8, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on November 16, 2015
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars If only...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 24, 2015
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4.0 out of 5 stars an economist's approach to tackling inequality
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 26, 2016
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xifang roberto
4.0 out of 5 stars The book is most useful in providing a in-depth analysis of the economic problems ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 19, 2015
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3.0 out of 5 stars A bit dry
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 29, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect on time and as discribed
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 3, 2018
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