The Price of Inequality

Author: Joseph Stiglitz

The Price of Inequality – There has been a great deal of conversation lately about the 1% v. the 99% and there is a growing list of published material on the topic.  It is not clear to what extent the issue is a legitimate subset of the discussion of dysfunction and polarization, but it is clear that the issue will be part of the political discourse during election cycles, particularly in 2014 and 2016.

In order to get educated on the topic, I randomly chose to read “The Price of Inequality” by Joseph Stiglitz.  Mr. Stiglitz won a Nobel Prize in Economics and is a best selling author on economics, so it seemed a good place to start.  The book does a thorough job of defining the variables related to income disparities but, at the same time, I found it to be politically biased and short on details for solution sets.

Based on the data Mr. Stiglitz presents, there is no doubt that the top 1% of income earners have done significantly better post Great Recession than the bottom 99%.  Mr. Stiglitz presents detailed explanations of his theories regarding causation, focusing primarily on the financial sector.  To the extent he is correct in his analysis, it paints a damning picture of our financial and political systems.

While his analysis is compelling, it also reads with a liberal bias that I found unfortunate.  Given his historic Democratic historic ties, I think it is incumbent on Mr. Stiglitz to at least mention other causation theories, of which I am sure he is familiar.

Although Mr. Stiglitz describes a series of solutions, I found them lacking in detail.  In a book of over 400 pages, inclusive of voluminous footnotes, only one chapter, consisting of 31 pages, is focused on solutions.

Based on my reading of Mr. Stiglitz book, I definitely recommend the topic as an important issue for those trying to understand the current state of our politics.  However, before diving in to this particular book, I suggest readers give more thought to their choice before embarking on the random walk that I took.

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