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Bill Gates (PDG/Microsoft)I have mixed feelings about The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz. Stiglitz’s contributions are important in that he really does a good job of articulating the issues of inequality and the economic factors that underlie it. He raises important questions about whether it’s getting harder for people in the U.S. to move up the economic ladder. He makes a pretty rational case for keeping things like the estate tax and for increasing taxes as part of how you close the budget deficit. On these ideas, I found a lot of common ground with Stiglitz. But he seems to think that government is totally benign, and he is very skeptical of the private sector. The private sector’s obligations and its relative contributions to the economy are an interesting topic for discussion. But Stiglitz seems to demonize the category as a whole. I wonder if many of his policy solutions would make things worse by incentivizing business to put even more money and effort into currying favor with Washington.
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 economist Joseph E. Stiglitz exposes the efforts of well-heeled interests to compound their wealth in ways that have stifled true, dynamic capitalism. Along the way he examines the effect of inequality on our economy, our democracy, and our system of justice. Stiglitz explains how inequality affects and is affected by every aspect of national policy, and with characteristic insight he offers a vision for a more just and prosperous future, supported by a concrete program to achieve that vision.