The top 1 percent of Americans control 40 percent of the nation's wealth. And, as Joseph E. Stiglitz explains, while those at the top enjoy the best health care, education, and benefits of wealth, they fail to realize that "their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live."
Stiglitz draws on his deep understanding of economics to show that growing inequality is not inevitable: moneyed interests compound their wealth by stifling true, dynamic capitalism. They have made America the most unequal advanced industrial country while crippling growth, trampling on the rule of law, and undermining democracy. The result: a divided society that cannot tackle its most pressing problems. With characteristic insight, Stiglitz examines our current state, then teases out its implications for democracy, for monetary and budgetary policy, and for globalization. He closes with a plan for a more just and prosperous future.
©2012 Joseph E. Stiglitz (P)2012 Tantor
Stiglitz lays out a compelling view of our increasingly unequal society. Causes, implications, and how we might address the problems are discussed with clarity. While this issues from the "liberal" side of the political spectrum - it is one to read if a balanced view of our current political debate is desired.
I struggled in the sixties to get a college education, barely graduated, spent a life in the phone company as a technician in a call center.
Well-researched, well-written, well-read. The book covers every important area of the USA that is in the current events, every major problem of the existing democracy, every cause of the problems, and gives many good solutions.
It's a shame that the author spent time writing this book to document his covetousness instead of writing an essay on how to thrive in what's left of our capitalist economy. That would have been a much more worthwhile read, and may have actually benefited a reader.
The narrator was adequate. I have no problem with his performance.
The middle class is mentioned frequently in this book. The author constantly advocates for the poor and the middle class, yet he never offers to define which people belong in these "classes". How are those classes to align themselves against the rich if the author never makes that distinction?
The author bored this reader. He offers the same tired progressive theories in favor of income redistribution, envy of the rich, and trying to incite class envy in the reader. He points to the fact that some Americans have more wealth than others, therefore some immoral act must have been committed to make it so. Since the results of our work bear differing rewards, he proposes American capitalism must be tinkered with (more regulation) until all Americans have equal wealth and pay (but for effort that may differ wildly). I have news for the author and the reader. Socialist countries propose to level the income among citizens. But even in socialist and communist countries there is widespread wealth inequality. Grinding poverty is widespread in those countries and the inequalities are forced arbitrarily on the citizens, and the victims cannot escape. But even the poorest Americans live better than most people in the world. I would say that the author would benefit greatly in his perspective by taking an extended vacation to somewhere like North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Laos, Viet Nam, China, or any such country where they have solved all these problems with inequality. Perhaps he could hold a peaceful protest outside Kim Jong Un's palace, denouncing him for wealth disparity between himself and his comrades (subjects). I would love to read about that experience.
Near the top in terms of the importance of his perspective. Our economic system needs compassion plus enlightened self-interest.
The support and evidence that he uses to back up his views. He is not ideological, but clearly pragmatic finding things that work.
I wish our leaders would pay attention to points made in this book to make our economy work better.
Like always, Stiglitz is a bit lopsided, but he makes a lot of very valid points. What is really annoying about this audiobook is the narration. Paul Boehmer's voice has the soothing, yet emotionally detached air of a spaceship's articifical intelligence computer, which in some settings might work well, but not in this audiobook which makes a passionate normative appeal for equality.
This is an outstanding explanation of the changes that have been occurring in the US, resulting in a widening gap between the very wealthy and the rest of us. Stiglitz spares neither Republicans or Democrats in explaining how our whole system has been increasingly overtaken by moneyed interests, and accordingly warped to serve their interests. If you are interested in the fate of our democracy and are concerned about the direction of the country, especially in the last couple of decades, this is a must read!
As an Economics student I must say that most of the authors in economics try to say simple things in a hard way, specially is they are neo-liberal ones.
Stiglitz makes an amazing argument and explains step by step.
This book made me structure much better my own thinking of equality and the role of government in our society.
I AGREE WITH THE LIBERAL OBSERVATIONS, BUT EXPECTED AN EMINENT PROFESSOR WOULD WRITE WITH MORE SUBSTANCE THAN A TIME MAGAZINE JOURNALIST.
While I support the overall view of the book, I found the absolutes and many examples of stretching the facts disappointing. There are enough facts to make the case for closing the economic gaps that create inequality and you will find those in this book. However, the simple facts must not have dramatic enough for Stiglitz. This book will fan the flames of the far right and give them more reasons to do the same with their own slanted interpretations of facts and partial truths. It certainly will not help them understand and is not likely to move a person in the center to agree. It will simply cause those of a common attitude to dig in deeper thus further preventing us from reaching resolution.
The performance of the reader is great, it's the actual content that ruins it for me. I understand why he writes what he does, and am ok with what he believes but there is nothing new or exciting in his ideas or explanations
Realize that the problem is the Human condition, all of his "solutions" ignore this fact, I feel as if he has a very naive and unrealistic view of people. He assumes that people wont take advantage of every situation they can. I believe there is a very small portion of the population that is altruistic, but the true 99% are the amount of people who will look after themselves 1st and foremost.
Yes, I enjoy the diversity of his thinking from mine, and find that I agree with most every problem he conveys, I just disagree with almost all of his solutions.
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