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The Price of Inequality Hardcover – 28 Jun 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (28 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846146933
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846146930
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.9 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

An impassioned argument backed by rigorous economic analysis. " --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 Jun 2014
Format: Paperback
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.

Myths
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John S. McDonald on 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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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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dom on 14 Nov 2013
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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41 of 49 people found the following review helpful By G-man on 2 July 2012
Format: Hardcover
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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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Athan on 19 Sep 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I grew up in cold war Greece. The first six years of my life the country was run by the kind of dictatorship the "free market" side of the cold war had supported (and often installed) on many of the local battlefronts, including Chile, Argentina, Iran, Turkey, Portugal, Spain etc. Directly before and after that time, Greece was run by democratically-elected crony-capitalist right-wing governments, of the kind that put up massive trade barriers, limited the movement of capital, fostered hopelessly misguided urbanization cum industrialization, managed the devaluation of the currency as best they could (the constraint coming from soaring inflation) and kept a vigilant eye on finances (this latter point an absolutely necessary condition if we were to carry on ordering more weapons without subsequently failing to pay for them).

It's how it was, and while nobody thought it was too much fun, we kind of knew it was better than the alternative, which you could only try to imagine in our neighbouring communist paradises of Albania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, to say nothing of the message implicit in the frequent defections of athletes/pilots/ figure skaters from the Soviet Union despite the inevitable consequences for their families. In the context of the cold war, that was the genuine alternative for us, and we had to be thankful we were on the right side of the curtain.

My young aunt Angele-Marie (only a few years older than me, but we are a large family) did not see it like that at all. She was aghast at what she perceived to be the capitalist exploitation of the country, rebelled at her father (a customs worker who was by definition an enforcer of the tariffs which protected our industrial aristocracy from imports) and joined the communist youth.
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