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

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  8,007 ratings  ·  711 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
Paperback, 560 pages
Published April 8th 2013 by W. W. Norton Company (first published June 11th 2012)
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Oscar Romero Nuestra hipótesis es que las fuerzas del mercado son reales, pero que están moldeadas por procesos políticos. Los mercados están conformados por leyes…moreNuestra hipótesis es que las fuerzas del mercado son reales, pero que están moldeadas por procesos políticos. Los mercados están conformados por leyes, regulaciones e instituciones. Cada ley, cada regulación, cada arreglo institucional tiene consecuencias distributivas, y la forma en que hemos estado moldeando la economía de mercado de Estados Unidos funciona en beneficio del 1% y en desventaja dle otro 99% de la sociedad.(less)

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Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
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 c ...more
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Menjol
Shelves: politics, economics
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
Clif Hostetler
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-events
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
Michael Austin
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
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
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, economics
“While the most immediate symptom is disillusionment leading to a lack of participation in the political process, there is always a worry that voters will be attracted to populists and extremists who attack the establishment that has created this unfair system and who make unrealistic promises of change.”

The words of Joseph Stiglitz in The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endagers Our Future can feel disturbingly familiar given the presidential election of 2016. The central thesi
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 it 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 wi
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Travis Todd
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
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
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jay Roberts, CFP®, CRPC ®
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
Nov 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Athan Tolis
Sep 19, 2014 rated it liked it
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 hopelessl ...more
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Others here have written thoughtful, detailed reviews so I'll just summarize my reaction to this important book:
The damage wrought by societal inequality is far-reaching & escalating. The Price of Inequality is a *must read*
Jud Barry
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Conor Ahern
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Stiglitz comes through again! It's still so hard listening to these books, knowing just how much more unequal this country will become in the coming years (and decades, via the federal judiciary, which is sure to be savaged). But it's also probably more important than ever to understand these things in the wake of the election, especially given the degree to which inequality seems to be animating (or at least permitting) so many of our most shameful political impulses. It's probably not unrelate ...more
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone. Required reading.
(Disclaimer: I didn't intend to write such an angry review. But you watch a nation elect Donald Trump as president in contravention to their own obvious self interest, and um, see how you feel. Anyway, maybe I should go back to reading novels for a while.)

I took a lot of time with this book, and it was hard to read. That is not because of the abstruse or incomprehensible economic concepts it covers -- in fact, Stiglitz does a really wonderful job of rendering complicated ideas with clarity and a
Thomas Ray
Joseph Stiglitz
The Price of Inequality

I have to start by saying The Price of Inequality is $27.95 hardcover. Sorry. Had to be done. Stiglitz, rare among economists, does recognize that inequality has many other, higher, prices.

Still he is an economist, and has drunk more of the Kool-Aid of his profession than he realizes. For example, Stiglitz tells us:

“The virtue of the market is supposed to be its efficiency.” He goes on to worry about how it can be made more efficient. Yet the market’s effici
One of the most important and timely books for understanding today's economic crisis. Worried about the lobster-eating welfare recipients? Your money is being taken from you by means of trickery far worse than individuals who have learned to cheat the system. Find out exactly where your hard earned dollars are going and who, without apology, is constantly discovering ways to keep funneling your money up to the top (to the people who surely do not need it) .

Corporate welfare fraud is standard pr
Nov 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: politics, economics
The author is kind of frustrating. He's like a doctor who tries to fix all the symptoms without looking at the causes first. For example large parts of the book are spent criticizing the banking system but he never talks about how fractional reserve banking started, whether it's inherently fraudulent, and all the moral hazards the Fed and the government cause by protecting them from failure. He just basically assumes the government should do all that but then regulate them in the right way to av ...more
Otto Lehto
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stiglitz's centre-left perspective is lucid, timely - and flawed. No fool or ignoramus, Stiglitz knows his economics, even if it is the economics of a bleeding-heart liberal, with all the blind spots that it entails. While I don't share the author's faith in the wisdom of regulation and government investment, I agree that the correction of market failures remains an important task in the age of massive inequalities. The fraction of fortunes that are made through rent-seeking and monopoly profits ...more
Doug Stotland
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As always, the author doesn't disappoint! A case by case exploration of various ways inequality makes everybody worse. Or almost everybody, the so called 1% might enjoy to rip more benefits in material terms, but then I would say even they prefer to exist in a world where more people are well provided for. Many topics discussed are well covered for in the media, yet it some were still eye opening. Well researched, clearly argumented and very well written.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was a slog, but it really is worth reading if you can handle reading about economics. Reading this with my eyeballs instead of my ear holes might have been more productive. I feel like I already knew a lot of the information and that much of it is common sense, but it does go into modern history and gives a lot of good solutions to issues with the US's economic situation. Some of those solutions may or may not be feasible given the politically tumultuous climate, but it's a really love ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stop reading it once I reached Chapter 9, well I skimmed the chapter, and most of it filled with anger toward the financial system/banks. Perhaps I missed a lot of things, but I just could not get to it anymore. I also has a sense that Stiglitz endorsed Democrat, should not be a surprise he was one of Bill Clinton’s advisor in his presidential term. Overall, it is a good book to understand what the hell is going on with (I guess) most of democratic countries in the world, thar inequality is so ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
I chose this book because I’d loved some books by the same publisher (Publica in Romania) related to economics and I had high hopes. I’d read a little on inequality from a sociology standpoint and I was hoping for a more detailed and /factual/ take from economics.

Even with a limited background in economics, I would say this is much more an extended opinion piece than an economic analysis. I was disappointed with the lack of figures, more specific examples, objective facts and just generally two
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed this book from the library. I am going to purchase a copy. I have the feeling that in the years to come I will want to refer back to it frequently. There are many things I like about it, but the most important is that Stiglitz goes beyond the present economic crisis to talk about choices in laws and policies and what they really mean for our society. In the first few chapters all that he wrote was just making me angrier than I already was about the failures of our economy and the way ...more
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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

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14 likes · 4 comments
“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.” 42 likes
“Of all the costs imposed on our society by the top 1 percent, perhaps the greatest is this: the erosion of our sense of identity in which fair play, equality of opportunity, and a sense of community are so important.” 16 likes
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