Home Economics The Price of Inequality

Learn the key ideas of the book by Joseph Stiglitz

The Price of Inequality

The threat posed by modern society

The United States is no longer the land of opportunity. The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future, explains how, if it is going to get back to being a Country that guarantees freedom and justice for everyone, America has to instigate a complete political and economic reform. The nation not only needs new bankruptcy laws and bigger transparency within the banking system, but also complete institutional reform, and ultimately, a total turnaround in racial and gender discrimination: a healthy and profitable market is built on a healthy and fair society.

The Price of Inequality
Read in 15 min.
Listen in 18 min.

The protestors were right in 2011 when they said “something isn’t right”: politics needs to stop shaping the market to offer further advantage to those who are already at the top

Throughout history, we have witnessed many appeals for change: today, the successful ones are known as revolutions, and nobody can remember the ones that were suppressed.

After the financial crisis of 2008, a great number of people had to reckon with a bankrupt political and financial system which, having been created on the basis of fundamental inequality, could not possibly come up with a solution to the social catastrophe that was already well underway. So, in September of 2011, the Occupy Wall Street movement was created in the United States, a movement representing  ‘99%’ of the country’s entire population in condemnation not only of its wealthiest 1%,  but also of the growth in the country’s economic disparity, a cause and consequence of the unstable economy and the completely unravelled political system.

The American subprime mortgage crisis brought to light another crisis, the collapse of the value system; the end of making money justified any means, even the exploitation of fellow citizens: some of the poorest and least educated people in the country.

The protestors wanted a new democracy, in which the people would matter, not the money, and in which the political system would cease to offer a helping hand to those already at the top of the pyramid, and would therefore stop making it even more difficult for the less advantaged to climb the social ladder.


The key ideas of "The Price of Inequality"

The protestors were right in 2011 when they said “something isn’t right”: politics needs to stop shaping the market to offer further advantage to those who are already at the top
In America, the “problem of the 1%” comes from several decades of a petrol crisis which began in 1973
Nobody can slow globalisation down, but some can take advantage of it
Education is a direct route out of poverty, but the most disadvantaged people’s access to education is diminishing rapidly
Discrimination shows no sign of decreasing: consciously or unconsciously, employers base their decisions on race, ethnicity and sex
Taxes are not ‘the enemy’: a well-managed tax system has many direct advantages, the first of them being equity, which drives productivity
In a democratic system, the majority wins, but in America governors represent that mere 1% privileged few who possess the power of political manipulation
An agenda of economic reform to increase efficiency, equity, and the level of opportunity
Take-home message

Try 4books Premium for free!