Published on Apr 22, 2015

America has more inequality than any of the other advanced countries and it’s only getting worse, said Joseph Stiglitz, author of ‘The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them‘ and Nobel Prize winning economist. Stiglitz added that America also excels at inequality when it comes to opportunity. He said the shift started during the Reagan administration with introduction of supply side economics and increasing deregulation. Stiglitz said the opening of China and technology gains also played a role in the dislocation of the American middle class, yet globalization has failed to make the nation wealthier and raise the middle class. Finally, Joseph Stiglitz said the best ways to narrow the ‘Great Divide’ is through education, a change in tax policies and stricter anti-trust laws.


How has America become the most unequal advanced country in the world, and what can we do about it?

In The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them, Joseph E. Stiglitz expands on the diagnosis he offered in his best-selling book The Price of Inequality and suggests ways to counter America’s growing problem. With his signature blend of clarity and passion, Stiglitz argues that inequality is a choice—the cumulative result of unjust policies and misguided priorities.

Gathering his writings for popular outlets including Vanity Fair and the New York Times, Stiglitz exposes in full America’s inequality: its dimensions, its causes, and its consequences for the nation and for the world. From Reagan-era to the Great Recession and its long aftermath, Stiglitz delves into the irresponsible policies—deregulation, tax cuts, and tax breaks for the 1 percent—that are leaving many Americans farther and farther beyond and turning the American dream into an ever more unachievable myth. With formidable yet accessible economic insight, he urges us to embrace real solutions: increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy; offering more help to the children of the poor; investing in education, science, and infrastructure; helping out homeowners instead of banks; and, most importantly, doing more to restore the economy to full employment. Stiglitz also draws lessons from Scandinavia, Singapore, and Japan, and he argues against the tide of unnecessary, destructive austerity that is sweeping across Europe.

Ultimately, Stiglitz believes our choice is not between growth and fairness; with the right policies, we can choose both. His complaint is not so much about capitalism as such, but how twenty-first-century capitalism has been perverted. His is a call to confront America’s economic inequality as the political and moral issue that it is. If we reinvest in people and pursue the other policies that he describes, America can live up to the shared dream of a more prosperous, more equal society.

Joseph Stiglitz
Joseph Stiglitz