Summary of The Price of Inequality

How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future

W.W. Norton, more...

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The Price of Inequality book summary
Income inequality among Americans slows economic growth and stalls the improvement of living standards.


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Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz explains why the idea that deregulation and minimal government are good for the economy – and, therefore, for all Americans – is a myth. He tallies up the consequences of unequal income and wealth distribution, now approaching US levels last seen just before the Great Depression, and explains that this disparity has hobbled America’s progress. The per capita US gross domestic product, or total economic activity, has grown almost every year from 1980 to 2010, while the inflation-adjusted pay of most American males with full-time jobs has declined. But Stiglitz warns that the top 1% isn’t the only culprit: Government creates inequality through tax policies, poor management of globalization and other means. Disillusioned Americans, by not voting, increase the political power of the wealthy and add to inequality. Though always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends this cogent, often unsettling analysis of economic imbalances and their perils to anyone concerned about the future of the US and the world.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why income inequality in America restrains economic growth
  • How government action and inaction create and sustain such disparity
  • Why continuing inequality increases voter apathy, erodes social cohesion and threatens democracy


Increasing Inequality Is Slowing Economic Growth
Income inequality is a core issue in America. The concentration of income among the richest earners has soared since the 1980s. In 2007, after-tax income averaged $1.3 million for the top 1% of income earners and $17,800 for the bottom 20...
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About the Author

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz teaches at Columbia University. He is the best-selling author of Globalization and Its Discontents and Making Globalization Work.

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    Frédéric Martin 12 months ago
    A must read to face the truth
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    Frédéric Martin 1 year ago
    A good view on the real impacts of deregulation
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    Wim Kloek 1 year ago
    The summary has rich information and ideas. I liked the use of different measures of inequality and for instance the economic value of trust. I basically missed the reasoning for the negative effect of inequality on growth. The concept of 'rent', which I know from Ricardo, seems to have a new meaning in the concept of 'rent seeking'. It seems rather inefficiency as a result of political lobbying on the basis of self interest.
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    Patrick Brigger 2 years ago
    Interesting summary and concept

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    Best of Joseph E. Stiglitz
    The American economist and Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences winner shares his insights about the economy, politics and globalization.

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