We intriguing examples, such as how the top

Topics: EconomicsTaxation


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Last updated: September 23, 2019

    We may not want to believe it but America is now the most unequal of all Western nations. Inequality in the United States is growing, the years 2000 to 2006, the amount of Americans living in poverty raised by 15 percent and by 2006, almost 33 million employees made less than $10 per hour (annual income; less than $20,614). Joseph Stiglitz writes about income inequality in the states in his book The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future. Nobel Prize winning economist Stiglitz, lays out the platform for revitalizing the economy in a very persuasive book, he keeps the readers interested by explaining the importance of how politics and the economy and the relationship between the two. He explains how the last 30 years has exceedingly increased the wealth and income inequality in America.

Professor Stiglitz provides numerous statistics as well as figures to support his point on the drastic inequality and the relation with other countries with economic and political similarities. He provides many intriguing examples, such as how the top one percent in America get in one week forty percent more than the bottom fifth gain in just a year. This book is very effective, incisive, and relevant to a political science or political economy course.

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 I found this books arguments to be very clear and to the point, his evidence based conclusions show how politics have a large control on economics. One piece of information that I really enjoyed was his description of how capital, like water, seeks the path of least resistance to the lowest of all levels. I believe The price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future, is formally proactive and should be read by everyone disregarding different viewpoints, including Conservatives, Liberals and Independents. Stiglitz shows how the United States has the highest level of inequality of all the modern industrialized countries through the world, while informing that we the people are the “job creators” not the one percent.    Joseph Stiglitz provides strong arguments against growing inequality on our democracy, economy and the justice system in place. The promise of the American dream and the land of opportunity has been shattered by the modern powers who make up the 1%, while divisions of the 99% left are scattered across the US beginning to stand up against the 1%.

I chapter 1 of Stiglitz’s book, he explains in great detail of  financial inequality that has recently grown to close to record levels all around the world, this includes many of the world’s most industrialized nations. He shows through statistics that in America this growth has been especially clear, and particularly disruptive. A great example he gives to his readers is the possibility of financialization potentially causing the unnecessary inequality. Stiglitz describes Credit based expenditure that then transides borrowers into debtors, representing a transfer of income from debtors to creditors.

Joseph notes that there is no denying the recently vanishment of opportunity for the majority of poor Americans to improve their economic livelihood. He adds that there can also be no denial that governments can afford successful policies to reduce poverty and create better lives for the population. In the text he provides examples like the U.S.

government providing for seniors through policies like Social Security as well as Medicare. Although Stiglistates that it is still argued that trying for alternative economic policies that would help to reduce extremes of inequality, “…will simply ‘kill the golden goose,’ and so weaken America’s economy that even the poor will suffer. As Mitt Romney put it, inequality is the kind of thing that should be discussed quietly and privately. The poor in this land of opportunity have only themselves to blame. In later chapters…I will show that, for the most part, not only should we not blame the poor for their plight but also that the claim of those at the top, that they earned their money ‘on their own,’ doesn’t have much merit.” (Page # 27)      Personally, I was very intrigued with this book, as I was reading I felt like he was breaking down what will happen in our future if we continue on the increasingly inequitable and divided society. He proves the major economic and social problem in current U.

S. times. One thing the author explains very well was the topic of excessive economical impacts on humans and the ecosystem.

I found this to be a great book becas touched base on the lack of taxation environmentally degrading activities, which overall has an effect on misalignment between social and private returns. Former presidential Council of Economic Advisers /Chairman Stiglitz,  targets various examples of economic activity that follows with consequences incompatible with “the American dream”. Throughout the book he selects pointless inefficiencies that are engraved in legal codes, taxes, and in our banking system.

    Joseph Stiglitz writes very clearly and simply explains what is causing the gross inequality in current American society, why it is growing at an alarming rate, and why a large degree of inequality is degrading. Although when reading it seems he doesn’t argue for total equality, just less inequality, which I believe will result in opportunity for less economic volatility. Some small limitations to this book is that I found it had a confusing mixture between economics, social policy, and political theory and tends to suffer from being redundant in particular sections. His point was well presented and has great reference material but I believe because of the repetitive nature of this text the book could have been shortened. With full honesty I did find myself frequently checking how many pages were left until the next chapter, his plea for a stronger government for the 99% was what kept me hooked.

Not many authors in this topic can provide an explanation to the root. When looking back on discussions the class had within the course, I found a lot of relativity between the book. One of the first assignments in this class asked “What role should public opinion play in determining government policy? Are there certain types of issues where public opinion should be followed, but others where its influence should be more muted?” My answer to this question was on the lines of believing public opinion should have a large role in government policy because the American people hold a great voice in our government. After reading this book I thought about the people’s true role in the government and our impact. I questioned if our society is truly allowing the development of this kind of extreme, unbalanced distribution of wealth happen in the U.S, I find this to be a disturbing phenomenon that has occurred over the past thirty years. Stiglitz demonstrates that bankruptcy laws, public spending, tax policies, international trade agreements, and decisions regarding monetary policy have been the structure of wealthy interests to create economic “rents”.

I found Stiglitz book to be a very scary look into the development of a plutocracy that is currently within the United States.

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