The Atlantic reports Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz on inequality in this excellent piece:
Stiglitz: Here’s How to Fix Inequality
If there’s one thing Joseph Stiglitz wants to say about inequality, it’s that it has been a choice, not an unexpected, unfortunate economic outcome.
The last Labour government chose to implement a higher top tax rate and Working For Families, these policies (though arguably too little too late) did reduce inequality. The current National government chose to cut the top tax rate, attack labour laws, and increase GST, these policies are increasing inequality.
That’s unnerving, but it also means that citizens and politicians have the opportunity to fix the problem before it gets worse.
In his new book Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity, Stiglitz … asks the question “Can the rules of America’s economy be rewritten to benefit everyone—not just the wealthy?” The answer, he insists, is yes.
Stiglitz describes the current situation as “a stark picture of a world gone wrong”: He notes that 91 percent of all income growth between 2009 and 2012 was enjoyed by the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. In the first half of the book, Stiglitz focuses on the practices and policies that have gotten the country to this point. It is a familiar story: The demise of labor unions, the increasing financialization of the economy, and the lack of wealth-building opportunities in minority communities have made the rich richer while leaving everyone else to flounder.
Stiglitz spends the latter portion of the book laying out how to fix things. … the solutions cover everything from fiscal policy to corporate boardrooms to retirement savings. His overview doesn’t prioritize pragmatism: A solution that only involves overhauling the few things that everyone agrees need to be overhauled is no solution at all, he argues.
Actually implementing all of these changes would require a complete shift in American policy and practice. The world that Stiglitz envisions in his book, one where all citizens can enjoy the promise of education, employment, housing, and a secure retirement seems at once like the realization of the American dream and an unattainable utopia.
Why is it that “education, employment, housing, and a secure retirement” are now regarded as unattainable? Governments choose inequality that is true. But we the people choose governments. Time for a change.
— New Zealand Labour (@nzlabour) November 8, 2015