Jud Barry's Reviews > The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future

The Price of Inequality by Joseph E. Stiglitz
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Sep 07, 2012

it was amazing
Read in September, 2012

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 about the workings of globalization, financial markets, investment banking, and macroeconomics, so that now, when it comes to the greedy excesses of bankers, free market fantasists, public-revenue-sucking corporations (Halliburton), and other rent-grubbing profiteers, I can do more than seethe inwardly. Now I can also recommend a book for them to read.

"This book is not about the politics of envy: the bottom 99 percent by and large are not jealous of the social contributions that some of those among the 1 percent have made, or their well-deserved incomes. This book is instead about the politics of efficiency and fairness." (p. 266) As such, the book shows that much of the wealth at the top has nothing to do with "social contributions." Instead, it comes from gaming a system that is rigged for those who already have the money and the influence that comes with it.

It saddens me, though, to read Stiglitz when he says "America is no longer the land of opportunity." Much as I agree with what he has to say, I hope he's wrong about that.

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