The Price of Inequality

Joseph Stiglitz

The Price of Inequality



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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.

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Analysis and key concepts


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

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Many useful tips to:

  • Understand the causes of inequality in modern society.
  • Recognise the deception put in place by the powers that be, and their capacity to destabilise democracy.
  • Identify some political, social and economic reforms that have the capacity to increase the efficiency of the market.

Joseph E. Stiglitz is an economist and winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for economy. He was Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank and he was chairman of the US Government’s Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton presidency. In 2011, Time Magazine included him on its list of the 100 Most Influential Individuals in the World. Today he teaches economics at Columbia University and is Chief Economist of the Roosevelt Institute.

Publishing house:

W.W. Norton & Company