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
The title says it all. The author presents well reasoned, well documented arguments about how the average citizen is losing out to special interests.
The roots of the hyperpartisanism were clearly explained - at least this authors hypothesis. What was really interesting are the games that politicians play to get what THEY want and there are times that what they want is not in alignment with what is best for their constituents.
I was of the belief that the present lack of bipartisan cooperation was due to Obama being an African American (and I do believe that plays a big part especially in the minds of some very vocal voters) but I have come to realize that there are bigger issues at play.
As the author states, the ideas and data are presented in ways so as to allow readers of all levels of economic understanding to enjoy and gain from this book.
Paul does a fantastic job reading the book. He is quite enjoyable to listen to.
The author presents data, and also presents suggestions. The idea that the author wants to raise taxes to 70% is absurd. He simply states that some economists have said that mathematically that would be a realistic amount and that at that percentage, the top earners would still do fine. Contrary to what some reviews on here have said, he is not suggesting actually doing that.
What the author does suggest is that, while the government isn't perfect (people are fallible) and corporations are not perfect (the market is entirely fallible), minor adjustments are needed in a civilized society to make sure the market behaves properly and functions for the good of more, not less people. This idea is not radicle. This idea is also not unproven.
The key to the authors suggestions are just that, MINOR adjustments. Nothing radical at all about that. And nothing that ordinary, logical people could not agree with.
The author shows, that if you are voting for people who pretend to care about you so they can keep more of what they earn (and trickle down to you as if more supply will equal more demand) you are doing so at great cost to yourself, your society, and your country.
I think it is easier to listen but the print or Kindle (which I have) version helps with tables, charts, and statistics provided in the text. In order to recall it later I find that it helps to read as well as hear that type of material. Also, the book contained detailed footnotes and references. By having the print version, I was able to look up reference materials and read it myself.
This is nonfiction but there is nonetheless a story line tracing the development of inequality over the 20th Century. The most important message is that inequality hurts everyone including those at the top and that a certain amount of income and wealth leveling is good for everyone.
A frightening book.
Stiglitz paints a very compelling picture of American economic inequality and its consequences for America and the world. In its descriptions of area after area of the Economy, it functions as both an explanation and a warning that American Capitalism as it is practiced today is incompatible with anyone's model of fairness, reason or simple decency. His description of "rent-seeking" (the process by which companies and individuals seek forms of subsidy to make money faster and with less effort), is clear, compelling and almost painful.
Stiglitz and Boehmer make you understand this, and once you do, you understand the fundamental problem with American economic policy and why it is that YOU as an American have bailed out the richest slice of American Economic actors (who make money by *breathing*) but not the poor people who were the victims of unscrupulous lending policies made in the name of those at the top and who are even now being evicted from homes.It is a great book that is clear and current and one that will make you angry.
Paul Boehmer's vocal timbre and reading clarity make the writings of a world-class economist more easily accessible.
In most reviews, the usual approach is to say, "blah, this and that were good" or "blah, this and that could have been improved." With Stiglitz and Boehmer, the only thing to say is: "I recommend this and I think you should hear it."If you read it, you will understand and despise, Mitt Romney.
A thorough and thoughtful analysis of the social and economic forces shaping the plight of millions. Engaging, informative and relevant.
Unfortunately, the narrator reads as if standing in front of economically ignorant highschool freshmen. How about trying to read to adults for a change!
This is one of those rare books that is enjoyable for both individuals who have studied economics and those who have never taken an econ. class. The book is very well written—seamlessly weaving together a variety of facts and findings from various disciplines with current economic conditions at both the international and domestic level in a way that one is led inexorably to agree with Stiglitz's conclusions about the need for more equitable distribution.
I can't yet compare it to the print version, but listening has convinced me that this is an important book to read.
Why Fairness Matters
Stiglitz presents an overwhelming (and sometimes excessive) case to describe the development of inequality in the US (and elsewhere). There is so much information that it is somewhat tiresome (or at least daunting) at times. He's probably a bit extreme in painting "corporations" or "bankers" as bad guys since sometimes the stockholders of those corporations are many, many "common" folk that either believe in the company and/or rely on the dividends paid by the company. So, not everything is done for the "fat cats" at the top -- some decisions are made because the vast proportion of stockholders "demand" it.
The description of the building inequality over decades.
Stiglitz paints such a dire picture that it's hard to see his suggestions being remotely implemented given the state of political discourse nowadays. Maybe he could have described some reasonable or possible smaller bites at the apple that might at least start us moving in the right direction (or slowing down our momentum of making things worse).
This is an important book to understanding the machinations occuring behind the scandals, bailouts, recessions, unemployment and many other factors widening the gulf between the haves and have-nots. The elimination of the middle-class is characterized as the short-sighted goal of the super-rich and the giant corporations.
Very clear enunciation and pleasant tone add to an upbeat performance, which must be difficult considering the breadth of the material and the potentially disheartening information.
The book is so engaging that I would have loved to have listened to this book in one sitting, but it is too thorough and lengthy to accomplish that feat. However, the length of the book should not dissuade anyone from reading it.
Though Stiglitz is not above lashing out at the political right, the financial elite, giant corporations, and military expenditures he provides a depth of facts and examples that support his positions. It is hard to disagree with his position when it is so well illuminated. It will be hard to passively watch the news after reading this book.
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