Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Stiglitz (Columbia Univ.) adds to the growing literature on inequality, persuasively arguing that a more equal and fair economy would also be a more efficient and dynamic one. Stiglitz reviews the evidence that American society has become dangerously unequal, not just in economic terms but also socially and politically. He builds on previous work holding that this growing inequality is mostly the product of policy, not merely the inevitable consequence of globalization. Stiglitz argues that almost every political decision of the last few decades has favored the 1 percent over the 99 percent, and in this he consciously adopts the language of the recent Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. He argues that high levels of inequality are not only bad for the vast majority of the US public, but also for the 1 percent over the long run. Stiglitz concludes with a comprehensive series of reforms that offer a change of course. Given the state of US politics, it is unlikely his plan will be adopted short of a revitalized OWS movement and/or a 1 percent in better touch with its own self-interest "properly understood." Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels. S. E. Horn Everett Community College

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Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist, considers the politics of efficiency and fairness; he cautions this book is not about the politics of envy. His central argument is about income determination at the top (the so-called 1 percent): that great wealth is amassed through rent-seeking, sometimes through direct transfers from the public to the wealthy, more often through rules that allow the wealthy to collect - rents' from the rest of society through monopoly power and other forms of exploitation. Wrong rules produce a less efficient economy and a more divided society; since the late 1970s American workers' standard of living first stagnated and then eroded. He concludes with a hopeful message: those in the 99 percent could come to understand that the self-interest of the one percent is not in their best interest; and the one percent could realize that what's been happening in the U.S. is at odds with our values and not even in their own interest. Stiglitz's ideas in this thoughtful book will prompt wide discussion and debate.--Whaley, Mary Copyright 2010 Booklist

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Nobel Prize-winning economist Stiglitz (economics, Columbia Univ.; Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy) addresses the growing inequality of income and wealth in the United States. He explains how over the last three decades the gap between the wealthy and poor has widened and how the middle class has come under increasing financial stress. Those in the upper one percent, he says, have amassed political power to influence the government and electorate to enact policies that do not benefit most citizens. He warns that inequitable societies inevitably fail as distrust, alienation, and perceived unfairness erode societal cohesion. Among the reforms he advocates are increasing taxes (and making the tax code more progressive), eliminating hidden special-interest subsidies, investing in education and infrastructure, strengthening the social safety net, and making the central bank's top priority employment rather than inflation. Verdict Stiglitz's cogently argued indictment of American inequality is an important work. Paired with fellow Nobel laureate Paul Krugman's End This Depression Now!, they provide an accessible picture of current liberal economic thought. Essential reading for all Americans.-Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.