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
Non Fiction Reader
If you like Big Government solving all problems regardless of the cost or consequences, then you will agree with the author's thesis. I do not subscribe to his arguments and frankly his are not convincing. It's the old canard that society owes those less successful a handout becasue they are not responsible for their adversity. Whatever personal problems an individual has are not their fault. There is a collective guilt that must be atoned by spending more and only Big Government, in its infinite wisdom, knows how to do it. It glorifies "experts" over common sense. The arguments, in many cases, also twist facts or chose them selectively That in all cases our collective sympathy must triumph over reason.
His arguments are tired and old and unconvincing. But then I don't subscribe to the belief that societies all ills must be addressed and remedied by more government whatever the cost or damage both to society or the economy it causes. He believes that more taxes (revenue) and spending (investments) are good unto themselves and neutral to the economy. He discounts individual will to strive and succeed or to overcome. A cabal of the rich, corporations and conservatives stand in the way of utopia with the federal government in the vangard.
Since I was not persuaded by the arguments, I was less than thrilled by the narrator's seeming enthusiasm. He reminds me of old hippie aquiantences I (still) keep in contact with who chase conspiracies, old rock bands, as well as crystal power et. al. and every new (left) fad, gadget, artifice that arrives.
My overall reaction was disgust. I listened and was not persuaded.
As I don't subscribe to the author's politics or economics I found listening frustrating and tedious. The book raises no new persuasive arguments. It's old wine in old bottles. However, if this it your metier, than you will probably find it re-enforcing...certainly not enlightening.
This is a very subjective piece that attacks Capitalism and Republicans and generally exonerates the left.There is plenty of blame to go around. The author starts with his conclusion and justifies it with selected facts. I was hoping for an objective piece and this was very disappointing.
The whiney narration emphasized the tone of the book!
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.
It is rare that I write a review and have never started halfway through a book... but I fear I will not finish this book and find myself so disappointed that I feel compelled to write something. Joseph Stiglitz sets up soft arguments and knocks them down. He uses statistics, historical perspective and data in an unbalanced way that weaken the usefulness of his conclusions. For those looking for a serious discussion as to the costs of inequality this is not your book, sorry.
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.
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