Monday, September 16, 2013

The Costs of Extreme Inequality

I just finished reading Joseph E. Stiglitz's investigative tome about the increasing rise of inequality in America, The Price of Inequality. Professor Stiglitz was the economist credited for first coining the phrase "The 1 Percent", in regards to describing the upper 1% of wealthiest Americans topping of the economic pyramid. Occupy Wall Street coined the term "The 99 Percent" to refer to the rest of us.

If there is just one book that 100% of Americans should read in order to gain a better understanding the causes behind our increasing economic inequality in easy-to-read, non-economist terminology, The Price of Inequality is it. It's a clear, concise, and a well-referenced explanation about how today's divided society endangers our future. Get out there and read it! It's even available at your library.

Of course, Professor Stiglitz wouldn't produce a book describing and documenting the 1% problem without also providing potential solutions to help fix the problem, and to create a more equal society.

But it's been just over a year since this book was published and I haven't noticed our political leaders doing anything to reverse the widening gap. As a matter of fact, Emmanuel Saez, UC Berkeley (pdf), and Annie Lowrey at Economix Blog, say that economic inequality is getting even worse.

Professor Stiglitz even described it himself earlier this year that the problem has also worsened since he published his book. So, like Professor Stiglitz says, "is there hope?"

Personally, I'm not too optimistic. Like the recently-released documentary Four Horsemen describes, perhaps we've reached a point of no return, and that our society is destined for revolution and change. Here's the trailer. You can watch the entire documentary online at Renegade Economist.


  1. Not many people like to discuss this topic, but it's what I believe why things won't change for the better.. the psychopaths are in charge. Until they can be removed from leadership positions don't expect the economic gap and inequality to reverse.

  2. Step aside America, there's a new and improved oligarchy taking your place.

    According to a recent AP news release, a staggering 35 percent of household wealth in Russia is owned by just 110 people, the highest level of inequality in the world barring a few small Caribbean islands, a report by a major investment bank says.

    The fall of Communism saw Russia's most prized assets sold off to a small circle of businessmen later known as oligarchs. President Vladimir Putin allowed them to keep their wealth in exchange for their political loyalty.