The renowned economist builds on his already extensive writings in the hope that policymakers will see the wisdom of altering both political and financial practices to restore the middle class in the United States.
Though Nobel Prize–winning economist Stiglitz (International and Public Affairs/Columbia Univ.; The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe, 2016, etc.) has unquestionably earned the prestige to be heard on nearly any issue related to the economy, he concedes that the cataclysmic changes he proposes would probably never derive from the current Republican Party and might never occur if the Democratic Party controls the White House and Congress. Regardless, the author rarely wallows in pessimism as he presents his extensive platform in language that will be accessible to most general readers. Stiglitz sets the stage for his approachable narrative by recalling his childhood in a healthy industrial city (Gary, Indiana) and how, when he returned to Gary for his 55th high school reunion, the healthy economy had been tainted by a combination of political and economic policies benefitting the ultrawealthy. Those conditions led to massive income inequality, one of the most significant issues facing the country today. Stiglitz pinpoints the causes as a toxic stew of too-big-to-fail banks placing greed above economic growth, government initiatives favoring globalization without protecting American laborers, lack of recognition by both government and the private sector that shifts from a manufacturing economy to a service economy require a new paradigm, and the lack of effective responses to obviously increasing income inequality. In the second part of the book, the author offers a massive platform for change that must be preceded by voters choosing candidates for Congress and the White House who are willing to cast aside the hegemony of the ultrawealthy. As he writes, “achieving greater equality is not just a matter of morals or good economics; it is a matter of the survival of our democracy.”
A lucid book grounded in vast knowledge—and equally vast idealism.