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The Price of Inequality [Paperback]

Joseph Stiglitz
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
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Book Description

8 April 2013
'The Price of Inequality' provides a powerful critique of free-market ideas, and of the directions that America and many other societies have taken over the past 30 years, showing not why they are unfair, but also unwise.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (8 April 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0718197380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718197384
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


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

About the Author

Joseph Stiglitz was Chief Economist at the World Bank until January 2000. He is currently University Professor of the Columbia Business School and Chair of the Management Board and Director of Graduate Summer Programs, Brooks World Poverty Institute, University of Manchester. He won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2001 and is the best-selling author of Globalization and Its Discontents, The Roaring Nineties, Making Globalization Work and Freefall, all published by Penguin. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A government of, by and for the 1 percent 29 Jun 2014
In this formidably outspoken and crystal clear book, J. Stiglitz lays bare the brutal division within the US society between the wealthy and all powerful 1 percent and the rest of the population. He unmasks apparent truths as myths, stigmatizes those responsible for the sorry state of the union, unveils the paths of power and illustrates profusely the really heavy price of inequality.

For J. Stiglitz, the US is in no way the land of (equal) opportunity anymore. Trickle-down economics (giving money to the wealthy few will be beneficial for everybody) is a lie; to the contrary, trickle-up policies should be implemented. Free markets don’t exist, only rigged ones. A ‘free market system’ is in no way self-correcting, but fundamentally unstable. Monetary policies alone cannot steer (inter)national economies.

Paths of power
The wealthy 1 percent amassed their fortunes through ‘rents’, also monopoly, tax and ‘public gift’ rents.
They dominate the political ‘democratic’ system with their campaign contributions (one dollar - one vote). Its permits them to concoct the basic rules of the socio-economic game (laws, (de)regulations, taxations, institutional and judicial procedures) to their own advantage.
They control the information circuits through their media conglomerates.

Failed governments and bad economics
For J. Stiglitz, recent US governments failed to enhance the living standard of the vast majority of the population. They created a nation with a bad educational system, bad banking regulations allowing predatory lending, and, most importantly, high unemployment.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If only Osborne would read and understand it!! 27 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A highly articulate and readable text by somebody who understands economics and its political agenda and seeks genuinely to educate the economically illiterate who are imposing such counterproductive "solutions"on GB. in particular and on Europe in general. Much of the text is aimed in more detail at the shortcomings of the US economy and the timid Obamaesque approaches inthe face of the ignorance and self-interest of Republican blowhards .Given the clarity of the analysis and the recommendations that are obviously needed it is so painful to endure the one note,one policy of the Coalition govt. in GB and their reprehensibly divisive policies aimed at the elderly,weak and poor while a Cabinet of millionaires protects their like.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It had to be written - a lone voice in the crowd (with Krugman). Gross inequality creates huge costs (externalities in the jargon) and inefficiencies down the line, both for the richest (5%) and the rest of us in the middle. US data is used more than European or Asian data, but that's not a hindrance to understanding his analysis. If you're tired of the neo-liberal economic consensus, this book will cheer you up.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars makes sense 14 Nov 2013
By Dom
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Easy to read and well researched. Could do with more on the solutions to the problem, but certainly makes you think.
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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book with an important argument 2 July 2012
By G-man
In the Summer of 2011, Professor Stiglitz published an article in Vanity Fair 'Of the 1% by the 1% for the 1%' which ignited the occupy movement and unleashed a debate as to the true costs of an unequal society.

This book is the result of five decades of thinking and seven decades of living through a period of deepening economic disparities. The conclusion is clear: everyone loses in a society which has significant inequality ,including the 1%. Stiglitz's reasons are compelling, inequality induces ridigities which prevent dynamic processes from enhancing growth. Consider talent, in America today smart kids from poor backgrounds achieve lower standards of living than less talented children who have 'chosen the right parents'. This in turn prevents human capital creating the innovations and developments to further economic growth and everyone loses out.

Inequality is also endogenous to the system as a whole. It incentivises rent seeking so that individuals and organisations are encouraged to take a larger slice of the economic pie than enlarge it for the betterment of all. It promotes a legal system which protects derivative contracts but not students against university debt. It heightens crime and reduces solidarity.

However, the book is positive in outlook and places faith in the promise of deliberative democracy, argument and persuasion to forge institutions that will create a more equal society.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory reading! 16 Aug 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book needs to be read. It is written by an economist - former head of world bank and nobel prize winner - who knows what he is talking ablout. I am not an economist, nor could I be described as a 'socialist', but like many people I am instinctively disgusted by the world we are living in. Old people struggling in their homes, the disabled being left as there is no money to care for them, the ever-increasing sell-off of our cherished NHS to money-grabbing American organisations. All this while a subset of truly appalling people such as 'Fred the Shred' and Bob Diamond live in luxury and find paying taxes unnecessary. One knows it is so wrong, yet this book explains, in a non-technical way, exactly why it is wrong, why it doesn't work and what can be done about it.
Although written for an American market it is applicable to the UK and the Eurozone. It underlines that austerity - the 'cure' being forced upon us all, never works and only makes the situation worse. He debunks the myths that there have to be super-rich people in order for the rest of us plebs to have something to do. The 'trickle-down' effect is another evil myth. These people, the top 1% or even the top 0.1% have rigged the laws, the regulations and the polictical system so that they remain at the top and we steadily get poorer.
It is an excellent read. Impotent riots will only hurt ourselves, but this book points a way out of this mess by uniting (for once) around the concept of equality for everyone.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Am finding it very good reading
Published 6 days ago by Brian Lahr
5.0 out of 5 stars All Politicians Should Read This.
This is an eye opening (and eye watering) account of what is wrong with our economic society. Although written about the US it mirrors so much of what is also happening in Britain... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Diane. North Wales
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A good clear explanation of the problems of inequality
Published 1 month ago by Kate Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Stiglitz. The Price of Inequality: A cautionary tale for all...
A brilliant, carefully researched and documented analysis of how the current system of wealth management in the USA has resulted in the rich getting richer, the poor getting... Read more
Published 4 months ago by hicks
5.0 out of 5 stars We all know its true
The market is not working properly. The gap between rich and poor is wide and getting wider. No political representatives voice the problems of the masses. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Rimidalv
5.0 out of 5 stars This is very important and this book is best I had read so far on that...
Put new dimensions and back ground knowlegde to the economic crisis in a sober and very comprehensive way. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Kim Paulsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Mandatory for anyone interest in understanding the "state-of-the-art"...
Stiglitz exposes clearly a fact dismissed by blind right-wing capitalism supporters over the past 30 years: That modern capitalism is a model of economic growth that covers,... Read more
Published 11 months ago by fio
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be very widely read
I really like this book. It unpacks the arguments of those who would have us believe that unregulated capitalism brings benefits to us all. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mr. D. Cunningham
4.0 out of 5 stars Stimulating 'insider' perspective on American inequality and its...
Books written by former insiders often provide stimulating new perspectives - and this one from the pen of the former Chief Economist to the World Bank is no exception. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jeremy Bevan
5.0 out of 5 stars An explicit e warning to America's "one percent" to mend their ways.
An essential sourcebook for those concerned about America's future and well being. If most Americans' don't realise how distorted their economy and society is by the income and... Read more
Published 14 months ago by David ANDERSON
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