The Price of Inequality by Joseph Stiglitz

Here is a fact that may or may not make you choke on your cornflakes, especially if you’ve bought them from ASDA (owned by Walmart). At the time of writing the Walton family, owners of Walmart, have a combined wealth greater than that of the total of the 40% poorest of Americans !!!!!!. You may wish to read that again. One family? Surely this is some statistical nonsense? No. check it out at

Aside from any statistical quibbling it is certainly true that the top 1% wealthiest Americans have assets exceeding the total of the poorest 30%. This is one of many figures quoted by Nobel prize winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz ( in his 2012 book The Price of Inequality.

Stiglitz draws on his deep understanding of economics to show that growing inequality is not inevitable: moneyed interests compound their wealth by stifling true, dynamic capitalism. They have made America the most unequal advanced industrial country while crippling growth, trampling on the rule of law, and undermining democracy. The same instincts of naked greed have run amok in our banking sector, impoverishing millions in Britain alone.

Perhaps the real question is why there has been no revolution, or at least greatly re-invigorated trade unionism. Homo Homini Lupus Est. The result: a divided society that cannot tackle its most pressing problems. With characteristic insight, Stiglitz examines our current state, then teases out its implications for democracy, for monetary and budgetary policy, and for globalization. He closes with a plan for a more just and prosperous future. A superb contribution. Please read it.

523 pages in W.W. Norton & Company paperback edition

ISBN 978-0393345063

Joseph E. Stiglitz

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