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The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future Paperback – April 8, 2013
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- Dante Chinni, Washington Post
“The single most comprehensive counterargument to both Democratic neoliberalism and Republican laissez-faire theories…Stiglitz’s contribution…to the public debate cannot be overestimated.”
- Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times Book Review
“A model of clarity.”
- Jared Bernstein, Rolling Stone
“A definitive examination of inequality’s effects not only on the economy, but on democracy and globalization.”
- The Daily Beast
“An impassioned argument backed by rigorous economic analysis.”
- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Stiglitz’s ideas in this book will prompt wide discussion and debate.”
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Paperback : 560 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0393345068
- ISBN-13 : 978-0393345063
- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (April 8, 2013)
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.3 inches
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #40,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The wonderful thing about Stiglitz, besides his Nobel Prize in economics, is that he writes very well, he cites a ton of examples, and he refers to studies and facts in abundance, but with a simple clarity. He is also very much aware of something called "behavioral economics". If you don't know what that is - look it up. Another Nobel prize winner, Daniel Kahnneman, in a book called Thinking, Fast and Slow, clearly explained that when it comes to economic decisions, we are definitely NOT rational animals. Any theoretical approach to how economics SHOULD work is doomed. We don't actually operate that way.
Stiglitz takes the most recent history, casts the economic thought back to the founders - Adam Smith and others - and explains clearly the path of perdition that we are upon. You may think an unequal society is not a good idea, not fair, not whatever. What you need to grasp that it is a very dangerous way to run a society - VERY dangerous. We are destroying our own efficiency and productivity by this mindless path of downsizing government, reducing taxes, and failing to invest in ourselves - in our children, our infrastructure, our health, etc. Economics is not that complicated. If you take wealth OUT - rent seeking - we all lose. We only all gain if you invest in us, ourselves, our infrastructure. Taking wealth out is a lose / lose.
It is a as clear as a bell to me - but HOW on earth can we get the balance of our citizenry and our elected wonks to understand this? They are not rational about elections either.
So READ THIS, please. And see if you can't get a few others to do the same. We owe it to the kids and grandkids. This way evil lurks.
Top reviews from other countries
In addition, like most other books, there is very little detail given to possible solutions to the crisis. Its very easy to criticise something for 300 pages, but if you plan on doing so you should at least give some serious effort to the solutions you would present-more than just a small chapter at the end!
Also worth noting that this book was written in 2012, given the 2016 presidential campaign and messaging by both parties since, some of the points are actually inaccurate (like when he mentioned that even the slightest whiff of expanding medicare would be enough to end a Democratic campaign). But if you are interested in that, or are willing to sit through it for what is overall an excellent description of many of the problems behind the last recession and those before it, check this book out
In assessing the rich 1%, he differentiates wealth gained from 'rent-taking' from other forms. This, he argues, is simply money taken out of the economy. That this wealth enriches everyone by a 'trickle-down' process he exposes as a myth. It simply hasn't happened.
CEO's of large companies have increasingly enriched themselves by huge bonuses as 'incentive payments' when any rise in profits is outside of their control. And they have not taken any corresponding hit when the market slumped during the recession. Money from taxation has been handed out in the form of hidden subsidies to large companies in many ways, not least in the bank bailouts, whilst aid to the poor has been cut. And yet, because the poorest in society spend most or all of their money by necessity, boosting the pay of the poorest is the best way of increasing demand in society and helping economic recovery.
Tax cuts for the rich do not increase the total amount of tax received by the government, as is often claimed. The historical record in the US since the Reagan administration show that this simply did not happen.
I will not attempt to precis the contents of the book any further. I think this book is an essential read to understand why the ideological attack on the welfare state makes life so much worse for the majority of people, not just those on benefits.
This is a good book.
As a minor point, I feel that a few aspects of it have moved on (which is understandable since I read it 7-8 years after publication).
Specifically, I think that we have a better/broader understanding of some of the aspects relating to the GFC, but I was happy to skip past these parts and appreciate its strength is inequality.