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People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  388 ratings  ·  69 reviews
We all have the sense that the American economy—and its government—tilts toward big business, but as Joseph E. Stiglitz explains in his new book, People, Power, and Profits, the situation is dire. A few corporations have come to dominate entire sectors of the economy, contributing to skyrocketing inequality and slow growth. This is how the financial industry has managed to ...more
Hardcover, 366 pages
Published April 23rd 2019 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 2019)
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Ryan Boissonneault
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
First, let’s start with some statistics: Over the last 30 to 40 years, every major statistical measure of income inequality in the United States has increased significantly, now approaching the same extreme levels as prevailed before the Great Depression. If you visit, the charts speak for themselves.

Over the last third of a century, the income share for the top 1 percent has doubled while the poverty rate has remained the same. The richest Americans have experienced the fastest

OK, a few days ago, he's just admitted that his "progressive Capitalism" is equivalent to Bernie Sanders "democratic Socialism".
One more vote(r) for Bernie Sanders. Or for Elisabeth Warren?




But if:
then C=S

True, there are situations when Socialism and Capitalism don't differ.
Why bother then?

So what's the difference? Between Warren's socialism and Bernie's?

Bernie just said it: "ovaries".

Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
I am wedded more to ideas of human rights and democracy than I am to either capitalism or socialism. That said Capitalism does deliver some things (at least for the rich countries) that socialist experiments of the 20th century were godawful at. A higher standard of living and respecting human rights or at least not actively getting too much in the way of such things. I pay attention to economics because it matters in day to day quality of life and provides leisure and freedom to keep democracy ...more
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
1. American people are angry. Republican Presidents such as Reagan and Trump like to cut taxes and regulations. Trickledown economics doesn’t work and inequality is high. The poor’s income have stagnated and their children are stuck in the low income trap. This leads to despair and increasing mortality from drug use and suicide.
2. Real wealth comes from Productivity, Creativity and Vitality of the people; technology; advanced organisations; rule of law, competitive, well-regulated markets; and
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It will not be difficult for people to disagree with some or even many aspects of Joseph Stiglitz’s new book, but it is important to recognize what the book is attempting to do in order to come to some conclusions about its quality or success.

Power, People, and Profits provides an economic policy agenda for progressives as the 2020 presidential appears to be ramping up. Anyone following the process of winnowing out members of the large herd of potential Democratic challengers in 2020 will do
Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The author will call Trump a ‘misogynist, racist, nativist, populist, liar’ who tries to pull the country apart by creating hate against imaginary villains through race, gender, immigration and ethnic differences. The author will say and show how Trump wants to undermine ‘science, knowledge, and our social institutions’, and will show how Trump is ignorant and dangerous on tax policy, trade war with China, health insurance, trade in general and creates fear, uncertainty, and doubt to shout and ...more
People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent, by Joseph E. Stiglitz is an interesting book on Stiglitz's ideas on taking the United States and its capitalist democracy into a more progressive format. Stiglitz is a well know progressive economist, and this text does not deviate from his usual format. Stiglitz discusses a number of pressing issues effecting economic mobility, employment, wages, and democratic power. Financial and monetary policy on a basic level are ...more
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
Full review to come soon!
Ailith Twinning
Jun 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019
Opph, Stiglitz, yer just embarrassing yerself at this point. For the love of God man, sit down and have a chat with a freaking Socialist historian, yer talking nonsense all the damn time because you've never sat yerself down and learned history.

Here's the secret -- The people in power? They're doing this shit on purpose (not like, well-planned or anything, just whatever it takes to get more power, the consequences are, well, inconsequential) . They're not 'bad actors', they're just bastards,
Jun 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book is so bad I couldn't read it. It is nothing but a tirade of an aging liberal economist bemoaning the Rise of Trump. (I did not support Trump for president, nor am I happy with the state of American politics.) He is sloppy and does not seem to care to persuade. He writes that a "majority of Americans" voted for Gore over Bush and Clinton over Trump, but that's plain false: a majority of those who bothered to vote is entirely different from a majority of Americans. He keeps talking about ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stieglitz calls his book a "peaceful call to action".
His vision is grounded in the U.S. Constitution which promotes the general welfare, not just the welfare of the few. He denounces the "obscene" inequality that prevails in the U.S. today.

This book is basically an anti- Milton Friedman/anti-neo-liberal (though the author never mentions Milton Friedman's name), anti-GOP, anti-Trump manifesto for more social justice, not only because it is just and fair but because it benefits the economy long
Mark Walker
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Here is government policy ready-made for implementation. Through solid argument and historical example, Joseph E. Stiglitz demonstrates that the solution is Keynesian—government unapologetically has an indispensable role in the well-being of everyone, including the rich in a fair relationship.

Stiglitz shreds the tired old demagogy of free market ideology (both intellectual and popular), with articulate and well researched refutation of its failed trickle-down theory and conservative folklore
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
Joe Stiglitz, one of our most distinguished economists, takes on the many problems facing the US - with special emphasis on inequality & closely related issues. While his coverage of our economic issues is both broad and deep, cataloging problems, causes & solutions, he does not shy away from pointing out the fact that it is the disfunction of our political system, especially but not exclusively the disfunction of the Republican Party that has caused, furthered and enabled our economic ...more
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: strategy
This is my assessment of the book People, Power and Profits by Joseph Stiglitz according to my 6 criteria:
1. Related to practice - 4 stars
2. It prevails important - 3 stars
3. I agree with the read - 4 stars
4. not difficult to read (as for non English native) - 3 stars
5. too long and boring or every sentence is interesting - 2 stars
6. Learning opportunity - 4 stars

Total 3.33 stars.
Adriaan Jansen
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
''Inequality is a choice. It is not inevitable''.
(Preface, page xx).

''We didn't understand the true foundation of our well-being – the increases in standards of living as well as the fulfillment of or highest ideas – rested on foundations of science, rational enquiry, and discourse, and the social institutions derived from them, including the rule of law based on democratic processes'' (page 240).

Let's start with some statistics:
- Forty percent of Americans can't cover a four-hundred-dollar
Keith Wheeles
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
HIGHEST RATING. Well-supported, tightly-reasoned, and deliciously well-written powerhouse of a book from Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. This book expresses my own thoughts (surprisingly so) with clarity, depth and scope befitting the importance of the subject. READ THIS BOOK!!
Nancy Leblanc
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this book, with the fantastic cover (who are we kidding, it's great), Joseph Stiglitz is telling an American story of their economic moment that is steeped in dimensions of inequality unseen since the Gilded Age. This book is his progressive manifesto of solutions to the many economic challenges America is facing - inequality, slow growth, the mismanagement of globalization's impacts, the monopoly strength of the tech giants, undue deference to the free market, a banking system in need of ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: skimmed
Stiglitz' prescription for our complex economy is too simple - the issues are nuanced, and he portrays them as solvable and that he knows how to solve them. Surprisingly, it seems that most of his book is about the pernicious effects of wealth at the top, and the resulting impacts on those towards the bottom, but he doesn't focus on consumption levels of those at the bottom but rather incomes, and in such broad measures that we don't see the details that matter nor are they helpful in ...more
Andrew Pratley
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Excellent read if you are like me & think western capitalism, especially in the USA, is in need of some serious reform. The system, if you want to term as that, has over the last 40 years been favoring the 1 percent over the rest. There has been a gradual accretion of power & influence by a self-serving elite. The election of Donald Trump was a manifestation of the unease among the many that this process has produced . His job was to blow up the system & drain the swamp. All he has ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: listened-2019
Stiglitz offers a well-balanced analysis of how the United States has failed to enact economic policies that ensure a level playing field for all Americans. He shows that both parties, Democrats and Republicans, have failed to identify the appropriate remedies for the impacts of free trade and economic liberalization. However, he is particularly critical of the Republicans, who consistently enact economic policies that make richer Americans better off while failing to live up to promises of ...more
Le Coronado
Although it has some good insights such as good historical analysis of corporations market power and the disparity of globalization benefits, its credibility is severely damaged by (i) the political bias of the author, (ii) the lack of data and tests to justify his conclusions, and (iii) a failure in demonstrate that his proposals would be properly funded. His comments about the financial markets appear to ignore the impact that an absence of a market could cause to an economy. His comment about ...more
Dana Pavlychko
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jesse Field
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: learn
This slim volume from one of the great left-leaning economics scholars is a good primer for thinking through the issues of the upcoming 2020 election. Stiglitz is all about how globalization left too many people behind, and these "discontents" have to take collective action to force government and corporations to foster the middle class, or else we are doomed to a spiral of inequality and rapid decline versus other countries, like China.

Stiglitz' favorite phrase is "moral turpitude." This
Mark Robertson
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a powerful indictment of the US's top politicians and policy makers over the past 40 years, during which the benefits of globalization have accrued to a small minority in this country. Much of the problem with today's low-growth environment with increasing inequality Stiglitz attributes to the economic ideas first implemented in the Reagan era. But the blame is hardly Reagan's alone. (While Reagan is mentioned, Stiglitz is most vitriolic in discussing our current president, who he ...more
William J.
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nobel Laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz argues that we have to do a better job of managing our society and our economy. In doing so we can improve life for all our citizens. In his preface the author states, "...the only way in a democratic society for the minority - whether it's large corporations trying to exploit consumers, banks trying to exploit borrowers, or those mired in the past trying to recreate a bygone world - to maintain their economic and political dominance is by suppressing democracy, ...more
Qasim Ahmad Ilyas
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Stiglitz has been a vociferous critique of the present American capitalism and its rent-seeking behavior. Though there are many who have concerned their voices in battle against the melancholy of inequality, the nature of neoliberalism, and US government's tilt towards aliberal capitalism, the People, Power, and Profits by J.E. Stiglitz offers an insight into the nature of present crony capitalism, rent-seeking behavior of large corporates, dysfunctional nature of governmental policies that are ...more
Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel Laureate in economics and a prominent critic of globalization. In this book he turns his lens on America - all that is wrong with its economic policy. It is well known that inequality has increased dramatically in the US over the last few decades with almost all the gains of growth going not just to the top 1 per cent but the top .01 per cent. The lower half of the population, on the other hand, has seen their real incomes decline.

The central message of the book is
Feb 19, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a wide-ranging look at the state of the US economy and the co-opting of US economic policy by a conservative agenda that degrades the ability for the economy to generate wealth and distribute it fairly. The analysis is based on sound economic theory and many of his prescriptions are also well-conceived.

So why only 3-stars? First, in an era of strident partisanism, I would have responded better to a more dispassionate tone. Second, while I agree that targeted government intervention is
Arya Harsono
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for Americans, especially those frustrated with the current political climate and the overwhelming media on the state of the country. Stiglitz maps out a hopeful future for what was once the world's leading superpower and identifies with detail the various economic and social elements that are necessary for reform. A bit heavy on the criticism of the Trump administration for my taste, but nonetheless an important discussion. As a non-citizen to the US, the lessons from this book will ...more
Binit Agrawal
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book comes from one of the leading economists of our times, and should I say, a more sensible one. While most economists lack a sense about the importance of culture, society and happiness, Stiglitz gives them a prime place in his analysis. This book tries to deal with some of the most pressing problems America is grappling with, and by extension the rest of the world. He talks about globalization, democracy, liberalism, income inequality, competition and politics. However, this becomes a ...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 ...more
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” 1 likes
“misshapen economy creates misshapen individuals and a misshapen society” 0 likes
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