Summary of The American Economy Is Rigged

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America, once the land of opportunity, is becoming a land of adversity, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz. In this incisive article, which some readers will find disconcerting and others inspiring, he argues that flawed policy and the insidious role of money in politics have resulted in a US economy that benefits only the wealthiest, leaving everyone else behind. He warns that leaders must intercede to rebalance the economy or suffer the consequences of radicalism and unrest.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why inequality in the United States has expanded since the 1970s,
  • How “the American economy is rigged,”
  • What government actions would remedy the imbalances and
  • Why such corrections are necessary.
 

About the Author

Joseph E. Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University and chief economist at the Roosevelt Institute. In 2001, he won the Nobel Prize in economics.

 

Summary

In 2018, America is the most affluent country in the world. But a closer look unveils the story of an advanced nation with severe inequality. Though it declined after the Great Depression, inequality began rising markedly beginning in the 1980s, a trend that most observers attribute to globalization and technology. But forces within the United States’ control – a shifting of market power that favors a plutocracy to the detriment of ordinary people – are more to blame. Since 1970, the top 1%’s income has increased fourfold, while the earnings of 90% of the population have decreased. The consequences of these changes have been particularly harsh on men with only a high school education, as the economy has transitioned from manufacturing to services. The rate of Americans’ longevity is declining. Despair is behind the rising levels of alcohol and drug abuse, and of suicide.


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