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The Cost of Inequality: Why Economic Equality is Essential for Recovery [Kindle Edition]

Stewart Lansley
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Many people would agree that a society in which a chief executive officer earns not five or 10 but 100 times as much as the average full-time worker is not a fair society. The Cost of Inequality argues that this kind of inequality also has an impact on economic growth. The deregulation of the financial sector has had knock-on consequences for our economy. Why invest in an industry with steady but slow- growing returns when there is a quick buck to make in finance? While in the post-war period the gains from productivity growth were equally shared between wages and profits, from the early 1980s almost all the gains were captured as profits. The result? On the one hand, huge flows of cash into the pockets of the rich; and on the other hand there is a reduced incentive to invest in production because of the lack of a market from wage-earners.

Product Description


'A great book - read it!' Richard Wilkinson, co-author of The Spirit Level --1

'Compelling... urgent.' --Times Higher Education Supplement

'Seminal.' Neal Lawson, --Guardian Comment

About the Author

Stewart Lansley is a research fellow at the University of Bristol. He is the author of Poor Britain (with Joanna Mack), Rich Britain and a biography of Philip Green. He has written on wealth and poverty for academic and specialist journals as well as the Guardian, Independent and Sunday Times, and has held previous academic posts at the Universities of Reading and Brunel. He lives in London.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1383 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gibson Square (19 Jan. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00722SAVK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #71,245 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and comprehensible 25 Jun. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We have all heard the arguments about how fair/unfair the tax system is. Lansley doesn't go there. Wisely, in my opinion, because most of us have already got fixed ideas about that.

The strength of his book is that it takes a new angle, namely, that inequality stops a free enterprise system from working properly. His target is workability, not morality. He then shows that it isn't new. The same arguments were being made years ago, and it was only when they were heeded that the recovery from previous great depressions began. Lansley doesn't rely on rhetoric, however: he presents plenty of cogently-argued evidence that the same conditions which produced the Great Depression of the 1930s were also visible in the 2000s. What's more, many people saw it and warned what was to come. The politicians put their hands over their ears and refused to listen, like an over-excited child who's been told it's bedtime.

The fact is that if too much wealth is held by the super-rich, they don't do anything productive with it. No one can spend that much on consumables, so they spend it on pushing up the value of van Goghs and on financial speculation. That accumulates even more money, but it doesn't produce anything. The squeeze is on the rest of us. This argument is very similar to that of the Patriotic Millionaires in the USA, who argue that they should be taxed more in order to leave less well-off people more free cash. What creates jobs and new businesses is ordinary people having money to spend. That's what creates demand, and without demand there can be no growth. It remains to be seen whether "quantitative easing" will make any difference, but my hunch is it won't, because the money goes where the money already is, not into demand.

Sounds simple? It is. Everyone should read this book.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read 1 Nov. 2011
This is a must read book. Beautifully written, the author has made economics enjoyable and easy to understand. The book demonstrates that excessive profits over wages and vice-versa will result in an imbalance in the fragile working of the western economic model and lead to the dire consequences of the 1930s, the 1970s and more recently since 2007. The book has many examples of how the greedy 1% seek to invest in high risk financial instruments, despite their wealth generating the highly volatile speculation which the City of London facilitates to the detriment of the other 99%. Whether you agree of disagree with the arguments in this book, it is a great read and highly recommended to anybody who is at all interested in the current state of world economics.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cost of Inequality 10 Aug. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book isn't as 'high brow' as I had feared and explains quite clearly how and why the economy is up and down like a yoyo. It also paints a very grim picture of the greed of those at the top - and the outcome of this greed on those at the bottom. That those with so much can still want so much more is very sad, especially when to get it the ordinary working person is sacrificed. I now understand what hostile take-overs are and why jobs are 'shed' in the name of profit. This book won't make me an economist, but I now have a better grasp of what goes on in the world of big business.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the cost of inequality --stewart lansley. 21 Nov. 2011
A superb review of the power and importance of money in the world today.
As someone curious, but almost totally ignorant of the factors involved, it has given me real understanding of the current global economic crisis.
Credible measures to try to tackle the crisis are suggested.
A compusory read for all thinking people.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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This book is one of the first I've read on economics that seems to make real sense. The author has a clear understanding of the issues facing capitalist societies. The simple fact that having large amounts of wealth siphoned from the economy by being held by the few means that the rest haven't got as much money to consume. The result of this is that consumer societies like our own just can't function properly. Stewart's message really does need to start getting to a wider audience and when I say a wider audience I mean those who are supposed to be running our country!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In The Shadow of Economic Inequality 28 May 2013
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A well presented argument that brings together, analyses and explains many strategies and situations about which, I, for one, have been concerned for many years. The book is worrying inasmuch that it demonstrates how power and greed conspire to ignore the indications of a bleak future and also, with misguided political connivance, how these traits have catapulted what should be a service industry to the position of the major player. Unfortunately, this player is parasitic and has all but killed off the real economy.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-researched study of capitalism's failure 2 Feb. 2012
This excellent book looks at how huge and growing inequality affects Britain's economy. It complements Richard Wilkinson's splendid The spirit level, which looks at inequality's moral and social effects.

Since 1980, Britain has had three recessions, 1980-81, 1990-91 and 2008-09, in which output fell by 4.7 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 6.4 per cent.

These crises resulted from worsening relations between the classes: Thatcher's attack on the working class cut wages, causing a fall in demand. Inequality is not the cause of the crisis: it is an effect of the current state of the class struggle.

As two IMF economists, Michael Kumhof and Romain Rancière, wrote, "The crisis is the ultimate result, after a period of decades, of a shock to the relative bargaining powers over income of two groups of households, investors who account for 5 per cent of the population, and whose bargaining power increases, and workers who account for 95 per cent of the population (and whose bargaining power has fallen)."

The ruling class, primarily its financial component, loot the productive economy. We, the vast majority, suffer a slump. Since 2005, our living standards have fallen every year. The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that our real take-home pay will keep falling till 2016 at least.

Thatcher's hero Milton Friedman said in 1980 that Britain's industry should be allowed to fall to bits. Financial services would fill the gap. Thatcher embraced this view and enforced it. Labour followed Thatcher.

Thatcher removed lending controls, enabling the growth of credit card companies, loan companies and building societies turned banks. But between 1979 and 2009, financial services generated only 140,000 new jobs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting account of economic policy over the last century, but...
I found this book to be fairly easy reading, requiring little prior knowledge. The first half of the book provides a useful account of the changes in prevailing economic thought... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tim
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to know what has happened to our ...
If you want to know what has happened to our society then this A book everybody should read to be informed of what has happened in the last 60 years of economic development, for us... Read more
Published 1 month ago by pietbergy
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth a read if you are into this sort of thing
good economics book, solid and concise
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Item arrived on time and in an excellent condition. I am pleased with...
Item arrived on time and in an excellent condition. I am pleased with the service of this Seller and I will use again in the future. Many Thanks !
Published 2 months ago by n-elowe (Edinburgh , UK)
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opener.
1% of the global population have more money then the rest of us put together not for any other reason than greed this is a must read for anyone interested in sociology.
Published 11 months ago by dawn edgenton
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched
Depressingly accurate view of the current economic situation. Lots of facts and figures to back up the view that high income inequality is not only morally wrong but also bad for... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Wombat's friend
4.0 out of 5 stars Deregulation and excesive greed is bad for capitalism
Well argued case for ending the disparaging gap between rich and poor, not on the political grounds of socialistic ideology, but from a capitalistic point of view. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
For the reader who wants some perspective on the growth of inequality in the UK---and in particular, how inequality affects Britain's growth prospects---this is an excellent book. Read more
Published 23 months ago by gwi
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account
This is a very clear explanation of the reasons for the financial crisis, and it has made a number of factors that played a part and their underlying significance clear to me. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Ellen
4.0 out of 5 stars Continuing cost of inequality
Chock a block full of statistics backing a logical & informed argument for economic reform of the global monetary system of Capitalism. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Chris R
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