#InequalityIs: Joseph Stiglitz on inequality and economic growth

#InequalityIs: Joseph Stiglitz on inequality and economic growth


I grew up in
the Golden Age of Capitalism. It was a period in which every group in our society saw their
income rise, every decile. But those at the bottom grew more than those at the top. It was also the period of our fastest economic growth. And I believe
that we could restore that “golden age” of America. The United States has the highest level of inequality among the advanced countries. Inequality is a
choice, and by that I mean that it’s not the inexorable result of economic forces, demand
and supply, globalization. Some countries
have shaped those forces and created a society with much lower levels
of inequality than others. We’ve chosen, in effect, to create a
society with this great divide between the rich and the poor, and increasingly
over the last 30 years, a hollowing out of the middle. We’ve written
rules that have weakened the power of workers in the
bargaining and labor market. We’ve not taken action in circumscribing
the monopoly powers. We have
an outsize financial sector that is very good at moving money from the bottom of the pyramid to the top. We actually
are one of the few countries that have
a regressive tax system. Those at the very, very top pay lower tax rates than those lower down. If we changed our policies, if we rewrote the rules that created more inequality we could once again achieve greater equality
and faster economic growth.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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