Not to be Piketty, but these are the income inequality books to read

 

I’d slogged my way through the first third of Capital in the 21st Century when I gave in and googled the reviews. That shows a disappointing lack of dedication, I admit, but there’s only so much time in a life.

On the not unreasonable assumption that many of you aren’t academic economists, either, and that you have other things to do with the time in your lives, I have a few other book recommendations in the general area of income inequality and, more important, its impacts on society.

The three books that I’m recommending are quite different from each other, but nonetheless their shared conclusion — that too much of how, how well, even how long we live depends on the size of our slice of the wealth pie — justifies grouping them together.

Continue reading

Advertisements

The one percent’s solution

A growing chorus of economists has lately been trumpeting the undeniable truth that, badly expressed, got President Obama into trouble with the right-wing media last week.

What Obama said was that no one builds a successful business alone. There’s a necessary infrastructure of roads and bridges and schools and hospitals, of banking and trade and tax regulations, and much more.

While Obama’s “No, you didn’t” was willfully transferred from building the roads and bridges that he was talking about into a cynically inaccurate claim that the President doesn’t give any credit to individual initiative, at least some of the media spent a little of their time discussing what he’d actually meant.

I’ve dealt in this space with both The Self-Made Myth (reviewed and Robert Reich’s Aftershock.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz appeared recently on The Daily Show, promoting his latest book, The Price of Inequality. Stiglitz outlined the main ideas of the book in “The 1 Percent’s Problem,” published by Vanity Fair in May.

Stiglitz’s article caused quite a stir for arguing that it’s in the selfish interest of the super-rich to make sure that the not-rich get a bigger piece of the pie.
Continue reading