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The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  3,094 ratings  ·  369 reviews
A forceful argument against America's vicious circle of growing inequality by the Nobel Prize–winning economist.

America currently has the most inequality, and the least equality of opportunity, among the advanced countries. While market forces play a role in this stark picture, politics has shaped those market forces. In this best-selling book, Nobel Prize–winning economis
Hardcover, 414 pages
Published June 11th 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published June 4th 2011)
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I guess the most disturbing part of this book is the fact that we are very unlikely to follow the advice that is contained in it. And this is a real pity, as it seems inevitable that the policies our governments and potential governments are likely to pursue will only make matters worse. That the alternative government in the US is proposing a Vice President who is obsessed with Ayn Rand and Fred Hayek ought to be enough to terrify anyone, such as myself, still foolish enough to believe that cap ...more
Dec 23, 2013 David rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to David by: Menjol
Shelves: economics, politics
Joseph Stiglitz is a highly distinguished economist, a winner of the Nobel Prize in economics in 2001. His career as an outspoken economist is both illustrious and controversial. He served as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton administration, on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and was senior vice president for development policy and its chief economist at the World Bank.

Stiglitz has a lot to say in this very important book. The basic thesis of this boo
The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz

"The Price of Inequality" is one of the most compelling economic books about the excessive inequality in the United States. It does a fabulous job of explaining three interlinking themes: that inequality is cause and consequence of the failure of the political system, and contributes to the instability of our economic system, which in turns contributes to inequality. Winner of the 2001 Nobel Memorial
Michael Austin
I did not know until I read Joseph Stigletz’s wonderful new book, The Price of Inequality, that economists have a word for making a lot of money without actually creating wealth or jobs: this is caled “rent seeking,” using a very old sense of the word “rent” that means something like “seeking concessions” rather than “deriving income from property.” Rent seeking refers to any economic activity that attempts to manipulate political or social conditions to capture a larger share of a society’s wea ...more
I see this as an important book which thinking Americans will want to read. It is one of what seems to be a flurry of other books on this topic. The encouraging thing about that is that we seem to realize we have a problem, and serious scholars , such as the Nobel prize winning Dr. Stiglitz, are examining the issues involved and offering possible paths toward amelioration. Although this is not light reading, it is meant for the lay person, and the ideas therein are certainly accessible by the no ...more

Despite winning a Nobel Prize in economics, Joseph Stiglitz has written a book for the lay reader in which he clearly and simply explains what is causing the gross inequality in current American society, why is growing at an alarming rate, and why a large degree of inequality is bad. He doesn't argue for total equality, just less inequality, which will result in more opportunity for ordinary Americans and less economic volatility.

Warning: the transparency this book gives to how the people with
Like many other books, this author frames the story of our economic woes in terms of the 1% against the 99%. After reading so many tales such as this one, I have to say that the author is wrong. No, nothing he really says in the book is wrong. And it is a very good read, by the way. He’s just wrong about the 99%.

There is no 99%. The reality is that there are two 49.5%s. The first 49.5% are the kind of people that can actually read a book like this. In fact, they are the kind of people that can r
Alex Timberman
Finished, February 5h, 2014

On Facebook, I recently saw an interview between Fox conservative TV host Bill O’Riely and President Obama. He asked something like this: Mr. President, how can you try and radically change a country that has given you all the opportunity you received? I like our President more than Mr. O’Riely but it did make me feel that the American system isn’t as bad as Joseph Stigliz makes the case out to be. For all the change that President Obama campaigned on, its up for debat
Jud Barry
Stiglitz delivers a clearly-written and compelling analysis of the current economic and political situation in the United States. Undoubtedly much of my positive response is driven by the fact that I'm the child of parents who worshipped at the shrine of the New Deal, however no small part of it is simple appreciation for Stiglitz's rare knack for cogent explanations that are as compellingly readable as they are putatively authoritative.

There is also the fact that Stiglitz is very informative ab
Travis Todd
So, a confession...I didn't get remotely close to finishing this book but got tired of seeing it on my facebook so I said that I "finished" it because I didn't know how to say "I abandoned this book and returned it to the library because I just found it too fucking depressing to get through so instead I watched a bunch of episodes of Archer and got drunk." If Goodreads even has that option, ha ha ha. Also I didn't want to say I finished this book because I don't want to compromise the integrity ...more
My education was in engineering, not economics. So, in a desire to better understand what is happening to our economy and, more importantly, to our society, I have been trying to educate myself more. I can't be part of the solution if I don't fully understand the problem or the solutions or even that many of the solutions proposed are actually wrong and will only make things worse.

In his book, The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future Stiglitz discusses a variety
Doug Stotland
Great book to read in the wake of Ryan getting added to the ticket. Even though the solution is pretty half-assed I found the diagnosis very persuasive. I'd imagine those who believe draining the debt through austerity, less government regulation, increased privatization and lower taxes at the top would find this a painful read. That said, I'd love for one of my libertarian-leaning friends to give it a go to hear what they think. I'd gladly read a book of their choosing as a quid pro quo (as lon ...more
Solid economic analysis clouded by repetition, naivete, political bias, and a lack of enough ideas to really go more than a handful of chapters before you find yourself reading the same hate over and over and over. Excellent point - the bankers in the top .1% are jeopardizing the country's economic future and current access to education/wealth/life betterment by shrinking the size of the collective pie through rent-seeking behaviors that do not add value. Stiglitz proves this, but then does hims ...more
Great book. The author looks at inequality in America and urges the US to opt for policies that will decrease inequalities. The author debunks myths like incentive pay and decries trickle-down economics.

Here are my reading notes.

# Exposing the inequality
The gap between rich and poor has been widening.
While the GDP was growing, the middle class saw its purchasing power decrease.
The bankers were rewarded for no good reason.
The American dream (vertical mobility) is part of the folklore but not back
Steven Peterson
Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel Prize winner in Economics. In this work, he examines the effects of inequality in wealth and income in the United States. In this book, he addresses how inequality (Page xi) ". . .is cause and consequence of the failure of the political system, and it contributes to the instability of our economic system, which in turn contributes to increased inequality. . . ."

The book addresses a number of related issues in its various chapters. He begins by laying out the extent of
Ruth Elisabeth
Jangankan Indonesia, AS sekalipun saat ini menghadapi masalah ketimpangan ekonomi yang serius. 1% orang kaya di AS menikmati 65% pendapatan. Lebih hebatnya lagi, tahun 2010 , 1% orang kaya di sana menikmati tambahan pendapatan 93% paska krisis 2008.
Sebenarnya tidak terlalu mengejutkan untuk negara yang terang2an menyebut dirinya negara kapitalis. Namun, cukup mengejutkan karena angka ketimpangan semakin meroket, ketika mereka ingin dijadikan contoh bagaimana negara yang demokratis dapat mencipt
Clif Hostetler
Joseph E. Stiglitz, a 2001 Nobel Prize winning economist, in this book targets numerous examples of economic activity/policy what lead to consequences incompatible with America's self image as the "land of opportunity." All through the book he points out needless inefficiencies that are embedded in our banking, tax and legal codes. And with each problem cited there's an existing interest group lobbying and making political contributions to assure that no changes are made to endanger these struct ...more
More good stuff from Stiglitz, whether you agree with him or not. I imagine there will be a lot who disagree. But the author pulls a heavy truckload of credibility, and ensures he reminds his audience of this regularly throughout the book. This is what I like about Stiglitz: he knows what he knows, and he sees no reason to be modest about his former titles or accolades. I don't blame him.

In the preface I got the sense that this is somewhat of his magnum opus, when it comes to books on economic

An interesting take on what went wrong with the global economy, courtesy of bad decision making and wishful thinking, primarily from the rightwing (who, to this day, continue to embrace their mistakes as truth and errors as virtue). A few years ago, I was in their camp - these days, I can't even imagine what I was thinking, or if I was really thinking at all. Reality has a way of kidnapping those with minds open to it.

My primary criticism is that the book could have used another round of editin
An informed approach to a national problem. The face that the author, a Nobel prize winner recognizes the dual society we love in is significant. His argument is an unequal society is bad for the rich as well as the poor is a different and unexpected take. His solution though, that more reform legislation and tighter control of banks and financial institutions doesn't seen like it will work. elsewhere in the book he chronicles how a corporate controlled Congress repeatedly shoots down such legis ...more
Absolutely inspiring! Stiglitz is a genius who is able to siphon through the complexities of our economy and pull together a theory of how we have become unequal as a society. He lays out the information in a smooth and stylistic fashion that allows the reader to fully understand the paradox in which we find ourselves trapped in. He also delineates a trajectory for finding our way out of the labyrinth of favoring practices for the top 1% of our society and making our way to a more equal, perfect ...more
Jenny Xiao
Stiglitz is a fantastic economist who knows what he's saying and was the social conscience to care about the well-being of people. In other words, he's prioritizing or maximizing the 'right' thing in a societal sense. However, he's a lousy writer - the book could be condensed to two chapters, in my opinion. He hammers the same point again and again - I get it already! I wish he would be less redundant and more succinct - could have saved some trees and my time. But then again, would the publishi ...more
Excellent! Put this at the top of your reading stack.
Grant Sanders
Yes, I agree with everything in this book. Those who are hooked on the idea of austerity and tax cuts will find it annoying and will search their hearts for ways to deny its ideas. Conformation bias is working overtime these days on both sides of the political spectrum.

It's human nature to choose winners and losers and to cheer for the winners. This is what it has come down to in our society. Unfortunately, this rather short-sighted way of approaching our world means that the winners walk away
Stephie Jane Rexroth
This is the kind of book that starts revolutions.

Joseph Stiglitz highlights how protests that broke out in 2011 sounded an alarm:
"The protesters, perhaps more than most politicians, grasped what was going on. At one level, they are asking for so little: for a chance to use their skills, for the right to decent work at a decent pay, for a fairer economy and society, one that treats them with dignity. In Europe and the United States, their requests are not revolutionary, but evolutionary. At anot
David Dinaburg
Some of the early sections of the books, which focused on the prior 30 year stagnation of income for American males, raised some flags; the current market allows more access to and higher incomes for women. That implies that the income of the American male was artificially inflated by locking women out of the marketplace, and while male income appears to have stagnated, an artificially depressed and systematically discounted demographic may have seen an income increase. Since this is never addre ...more
Liberals frequently say they want to tame the excesses of capitalism,in part because they don’t like the large inequalities produced by capitalism. But the author of this book, economist Joseph Stiglitz says much of the inequality we see isn’t the result of too much capitalism. It’s the result of malfunctioning capitalism. Some of the capitalists, particularly in financial services, are working overtime not to create better products, but to limit competition, control information, and devise othe ...more
H Wesselius
Stiglitz and Krugman form two sides of an echo chamber for me. They simply reinforce my point of view. He outlines the existence of inequality, its origins, and then presents the problems that arise from it. And in the end, he provides a prescriptive solution. And its the prescriptive solution which is the strength of the book -- the idea that its not hopeless nor is the present corporatist model a state of nature which we must accept. However, one wonders why Stiglitz wasn't implementing his so ...more
Joseph Stiglitz is a left-leaning "New Keynesian" economist who helped found the "1% and the 99%" meme. He's an important academic economist who won the Nobel Prize and served in the Clinton administration. In the intro to the book, he talks a bit about the idea behind the "1% v 99%" thing, and about the Occupy Wall Street movement, which used this as something of a slogan. The majority of the book is prolonged explanation and defense of his views about the growing inequality of US society, and ...more
Awesome book!
Finally an economist that argues against market liberalisation (not their removal, mark that), is againts inequality and actually shows that it's inefficient and a bad thing for the whole economy (and also for the rich!) with actual and tangible arguments and data.
The first chapters try to reveal what has the US truly become in the past 30 years or so, that it is no longer a place of opportunities, that for the main part of the population there's no such possible thing as the Americ
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The Liberal Polit...: General discussion 8 18 Sep 15, 2012 06:13PM  
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Joseph Eugene Stiglitz, ForMemRS, FBA, is an American economist and a professor at Columbia University. He is a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979). He is also the former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank. He is known for his critical view of the management of globalization, free-market economists (whom h ...more
More about Joseph E. Stiglitz...
Globalization and Its Discontents Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy Making Globalization Work The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict The Roaring Nineties: A New History of the World's Most Prosperous Decade

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“There are two visions of America a half century from now. One is of a society more divided between the haves and the have-nots, a country in which the rich live in gated communities, send their children to expensive schools, and have access to first-rate medical care. Meanwhile, the rest live in a world marked by insecurity, at best mediocre education, and in effect rationed health care―they hope and pray they don't get seriously sick. At the bottom are millions of young people alienated and without hope. I have seen that picture in many developing countries; economists have given it a name, a dual economy, two societies living side by side, but hardly knowing each other, hardly imagining what life is like for the other. Whether we will fall to the depths of some countries, where the gates grow higher and the societies split farther and farther apart, I do not know. It is, however, the nightmare towards which we are slowly marching.” 14 likes
“The protesters have called into question whether there is a real democracy. Real democracy is more than the right to vote once every two or four years. The choices have to be meaningful. But increasingly, and especially in the US, it seems that the political system is more akin to "one dollar one vote" than to "one person one vote". Rather than correcting the market failures, the political system was reinforcing them.” 4 likes
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