Although economic inequality provokes widespread disquiet, its supposed necessity is rarely questioned. At best, a basic level of inequality is seen as a necessary evil. At worst, it is seen as insufficient to encourage aspiration, hard work and investment – a refrain sometimes used to advocate ever greater inequality. In this original new book, Danny Dorling critically analyses historical trends and contemporary assumptions in order to question the idea that inequality is an inevitability. What if, he asks, widespread economic inequality is actually just a passing phase, a feature of the capitalist transition from a settled rural way of life to our next highly urban steady-state? Is it really likely that we face a Blade Runner-style dystopian future divided between a tiny elite and an impoverished mass? Dorling shows how, amongst much else, a stabilizing population, changing gender relations and rising access to education make a more egalitarian alternative to this nightmare vision not only preferable, but realistic. This bold contribution to one of the most significant debates of our time will be essential reading for anyone interested in our economic, social and political destiny.
Succinct, accessible, and authoritative, Thomas Piketty’s The Economics of Inequality is the ideal place to start for those who want to understand the fundamental issues at the heart of one the most pressing concerns in contemporary economics and politics. This work now appears in English for the first time.
The main driver of inequality—returns on capital that exceed the rate of economic growth—is again threatening to generate extreme discontent and undermine democratic values. Thomas Piketty’s findings in this ambitious, original, rigorous work will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.
From world-renowned economist Paul Collier, a candid diagnosis of the failures of capitalism and a pragmatic and realistic vision for how we can repair it Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of Britain and other Western societies: thriving cities versus the provinces, the highly skilled elite versus the less educated, wealthy versus developing countries. As these divides deepen, we have lost the sense of ethical obligation to others that was crucial to the rise of post-war social democracy. So far these rifts have been answered only by the revivalist ideologies of populism and socialism, leading to the seismic upheavals of Trump, Brexit and the return of the far right in Germany. We have heard many critiques of capitalism but no one has laid out a realistic way to fix it, until now. In a passionate and polemical book, celebrated economist Paul Collier outlines brilliantly original and ethical ways of healing these rifts - economic, social and cultural - with the cool head of pragmatism, rather than the fervour of ideological revivalism. He reveals how he has personally lived across these three divides, moving from working-class Sheffield to hyper-competitive Oxford, and working between Britain and Africa, and acknowledges some of the failings of his profession. Drawing on his own solutions as well as ideas from some of the world's most distinguished social scientists, he shows us how to save capitalism from itself - and free ourselves from the intellectual baggage of the 20th century.
The Myth of Capitalism tells the story of how America has gone from an open, competitive marketplace to an economy where a few very powerful companies dominate key industries that affect our daily lives. Digital monopolies like Google, Facebook and Amazon act as gatekeepers to the digital world. Amazon is capturing almost all online shopping dollars. We have the illusion of choice, but for most critical decisions, we have only one or two companies, when it comes to high speed Internet, health insurance, medical care, mortgage title insurance, social networks, Internet searches, or even consumer goods like toothpaste. Every day, the average American transfers a little of their pay check to monopolists and oligopolists. The solution is vigorous anti-trust enforcement to return America to a period where competition created higher economic growth, more jobs, higher wages and a level playing field for all. The Myth of Capitalism is the story of industrial concentration, but it matters to everyone, because the stakes could not be higher. It tackles the big questions of: why is the US becoming a more unequal society, why is economic growth anemic despite trillions of dollars of federal debt and money printing, why the number of start-ups has declined, and why are workers losing out.
The surprising finding of this book is that, contrary to conventional wisdom, global income inequality is decreasing. Critics of globalization and others maintain that the spread of consumer capitalism is dramatically polarizing the worldwide distribution of income. But as the demographer Glenn Firebaugh carefully shows, income inequality for the world peaked in the late twentieth century and is now heading downward because of declining income inequality across nations. Furthermore, as income inequality declines across nations, it is rising within nations (though not as rapidly as it is declining across nations). Firebaugh claims that this historic transition represents a new geography of global income inequality in the twenty-first century. This book documents the new geography, describes its causes, and explains why other analysts have missed one of the defining features of our era--a transition in inequality that is reducing the importance of where a person is born in determining his or her future well-being.
Peter Georgescu arrived in this country as a penniless Romanian refugee and rose to become the CEO of Young & Rubicam. This is why he's so heartsick that with flat wages, disappearing jobs, and a shrinking middle class, his kind of rags-to-riches story doesn't seem possible now. But he has a message for his fellow CEOs: we're the ones who must take the lead in fixing the economy. Marshaling deeply sobering statistics, Georgescu depicts the stark reality of America today: a nation with greater wealth inequality and lower social mobility than just about any other country in the developed world. But the problem isn't that free-market capitalism no longer works—it's that it's been hijacked by shareholder primacy. Where once our business leaders looked to the needs and interests of a variety of stakeholders—employees, community members, the business itself—now they're myopically focused on maximizing their shareholders' quarterly returns. Capitalists Arise! shows how the short-term thinking spawned by shareholder primacy lies at the root of our current economic malaise and social breakdown. But Georgescu offers concrete actions that capitalists themselves can take to create a better future. The irony is that if businesses do this, shareholders will do even better. In the long run, businesses can thrive only when society is healthy and strong. This book is a manifesto calling on capitalists to heal the nation that has given them so much.
We are living in a time of extreme inequality: America’s three richest people now own as much wealth as the bottom half of the population. Although most accept that this is grotesque, many politicians accept it as irreversible. In this book, leading US researcher and activist Chuck Collins succinctly diagnoses the drivers of rampant inequality, arguing that such disparities have their roots in 40 years of the powerful rigging the system in their favor. He proposes a far-reaching policy agenda, analyzes the barriers to progress, and shows how transformative local campaigns can become a national movement for change. This book is a powerful analysis of how the plutocracy sold us a toxic lie, and what we can do to reverse inequality.
Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that it never dies peacefully. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world. The “Four Horsemen” of leveling—mass-mobilization warfare, transformative revolutions, state collapse, and catastrophic plagues—have repeatedly destroyed the fortunes of the rich. Today, the violence that reduced inequality in the past seems to have diminished, and that is a good thing. But it casts serious doubt on the prospects for a more equal future. An essential contribution to the debate about inequality, The Great Leveler provides important new insights about why inequality is so persistent—and why it is unlikely to decline anytime soon.
A Financial Times "Best Book of 2017: Economics” 800-CEO-Read “Best Business Book of 2017: Current Events & Public Affairs” Economics is the mother tongue of public policy. It dominates our decision-making for the future, guides multi-billion-dollar investments, and shapes our responses to climate change, inequality, and other environmental and social challenges that define our times. Pity then, or more like disaster, that its fundamental ideas are centuries out of date yet are still taught in college courses worldwide and still used to address critical issues in government and business alike. That’s why it is time, says renegade economist Kate Raworth, to revise our economic thinking for the 21st century. In Doughnut Economics, she sets out seven key ways to fundamentally reframe our understanding of what economics is and does. Along the way, she points out how we can break our addiction to growth; redesign money, finance, and business to be in service to people; and create economies that are regenerative and distributive by design. Named after the now-iconic “doughnut” image that Raworth first drew to depict a sweet spot of human prosperity (an image that appealed to the Occupy Movement, the United Nations, eco-activists, and business leaders alike), Doughnut Economics offers a radically new compass for guiding global development, government policy, and corporate strategy, and sets new standards for what economic success looks like. Raworth handpicks the best emergent ideas—from ecological, behavioral, feminist, and institutional economics to complexity thinking and Earth-systems science—to address this question: How can we turn economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive, into economies that make us thrive, whether or not they grow? Simple, playful, and eloquent, Doughnut Economics offers game-changing analysis and inspiration for a new generation of economic thinkers.
In Talking to My Daughter About the Economy, activist Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s former finance minister and the author of the international bestseller Adults in the Room, pens a series of letters to his young daughter, educating her about the business, politics, and corruption of world economics. Yanis Varoufakis has appeared before heads of nations, assemblies of experts, and countless students around the world. Now, he faces his most important—and difficult—audience yet. Using clear language and vivid examples, Varoufakis offers a series of letters to his young daughter about the economy: how it operates, where it came from, how it benefits some while impoverishing others. Taking bankers and politicians to task, he explains the historical origins of inequality among and within nations, questions the pervasive notion that everything has its price, and shows why economic instability is a chronic risk. Finally, he discusses the inability of market-driven policies to address the rapidly declining health of the planet his daughter’s generation stands to inherit. Throughout, Varoufakis wears his expertise lightly. He writes as a parent whose aim is to instruct his daughter on the fundamental questions of our age—and through that knowledge, to equip her against the failures and obfuscations of our current system and point the way toward a more democratic alternative.
Argues that focusing on inequality is an error because much inequality is "good," the reward for thrift, industry, and invention, and also a trap because it leads us to fixate on the top end of the income distribution rather than on those at the bottom who need help most. Asserts that responding to growing inequality by fighting capitalism rather than poverty may lead to both more poverty and less equality.
The spread of capitalism worldwide has made people wealthier than ever before. But capitalism’s future is far from assured. The global financial meltdown of 2008 nearly produced a great depression. Economies in Europe are still teetering. Income inequality, resource depletion, mass migrations from poor to rich countries, religious fundamentalism—these are just a few of the threats to continuing prosperity. How can capitalism be sustained? And who should spearhead the effort? Critics turn to government. In Capitalism at Risk, Harvard Business School professors Joseph Bower, Herman Leonard, and Lynn Paine argue that while governments must play a role, businesses should take the lead. For enterprising companies—whether large multinationals, established regional players, or small start-ups—the current threats to market capitalism present important opportunities. Capitalism at Risk draws on discussions with business leaders around the world to identify ten potential disruptors of the global market system. Presenting examples of companies already making a difference, the authors explain how business must serve both as innovator and activist—developing corporate strategies that effect change at the community, national, and international levels. Filled with rich insights, Capitalism at Risk presents a compelling and constructive vision for the future of market capitalism.
Many in the United States feel that the nation’s current level of economic inequality is unfair and that capitalism is not working for 90% of the population. Yet some inequality is inevitable. The question is: What level of inequality is fair? Mainstream economics has offered little guidance on fairness and the ideal distribution of income. Political philosophy, meanwhile, has much to say about fairness yet relies on qualitative theories that cannot be verified by empirical data. To address inequality, we need to know what the goal is—and for this, we need a quantitative, testable theory of fairness for free-market capitalism. How Much Inequality Is Fair? synthesizes concepts from economics, political philosophy, game theory, information theory, statistical mechanics, and systems engineering into a mathematical framework for a fair free-market society. The key to this framework is the insight that maximizing fairness means maximizing entropy, which makes it possible to determine the fairest possible level of pay inequality. The framework therefore provides a moral justification for capitalism in mathematical terms. Venkat Venkatasubramanian also compares his theory’s predictions to actual inequality data from various countries—showing, for instance, that Scandinavia has near-ideal fairness, while the United States is markedly unfair—and discusses the theory’s implications for tax policy, social programs, and executive compensation.
From the author of "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations," his most important book to date--a myth-shattering breakdown of how the economic system that helped make America so strong is now failing us, and what it will take to fix it. Perhaps no one is better acquainted with the intersection of economics and politics than Robert B. Reich, and now he reveals how power and influence have created a new American oligarchy, a shrinking middle class, and the greatest income inequality and wealth disparity in eighty years. He makes clear how centrally problematic our veneration of the "free market" is, and how it has masked the power of moneyed interests to tilt the market to their benefit. Reich exposes the falsehoods that have been bolstered by the corruption of our democracy by huge corporations and the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street: that all workers are paid what they're "worth," that a higher minimum wage equals fewer jobs, and that corporations must serve shareholders before employees. He shows that the critical choices ahead are not about the size of government but about who government is for: that we must choose not between a free market and "big" government but between a market organized for broadly based prosperity and one designed to deliver the most gains to the top. Ever the pragmatist, ever the optimist, Reich sees hope for reversing our slide toward inequality and diminished opportunity when we shore up the countervailing power of everyone else. Passionate yet practical, sweeping yet exactingly argued, Saving Capitalism is a revelatory indictment of our economic status quo and an empowering call to civic action.
"If anyone can save capitalism from the capitalists, it’s Steven Pearlstein. This lucid, brilliant book refuses to abandon capitalism to those who believe morality and justice irrelevant to an economic system." —Ezra Klein, founder and editor-at-large, Vox Pulitzer Prize-winning economics journalist Steven Pearlstein argues that our thirty year experiment in unfettered markets has undermined core values required to make capitalism and democracy work. Thirty years ago, “greed is good” and “maximizing shareholder value” became the new mantras woven into the fabric of our business culture, economy, and politics. Although, around the world, free market capitalism has lifted more than a billion people from poverty, in the United States most of the benefits of economic growth have been captured by the richest 10%, along with providing justification for squeezing workers, cheating customers, avoiding taxes, and leaving communities in the lurch. As a result, Americans are losing faith that a free market economy is the best system. In Can American Capitalism Survive?, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steven Pearlstein chronicles our descent and challenges the theories being taught in business schools and exercised in boardrooms around the country. We’re missing a key tenet of Adam Smith’s wealth of nations: without trust and social capital, democratic capitalism cannot survive. Further, equality of incomes and opportunity need not come at the expense of economic growth. Pearlstein lays out bold steps we can take as a country: a guaranteed minimum income paired with universal national service, tax incentives for companies to share profits with workers, ending class segregation in public education, and restoring competition to markets. He provides a path forward that will create the shared prosperity that will sustain capitalism over the long term.
"[The authors] bring together a decade of research on how to measure intangible investment and its impact on national accounts, showing the amount different countries invest in intangibles, how this has changed over time, and the latest thinking on how to assess this. They explore the unusual economic characteristics of intangible investment, and discuss how these features make an intangible-rich economy fundamentally different from one based on tangibles"--Amazon.com.
Branko Milanovic presents a bold account of the dynamics that drive inequality on a global scale. Using vast data sets, he explains the forces that make inequality rise and fall within and among nations over time. He reveals who has been helped by globalization, who has been hurt, andwhat policies might tilt the balance toward economic justice.
In early 2009, many economists, financiers, and media pundits were confidently predicting the end of the American-led capitalism that has shaped history and economics for the past 100 years. Yet the U.S. economic model, far from being discredited, may be strengthened by the financial crisis. In this provocative book, Anatole Kaletsky re-interprets the financial crisis as part of an evolutionary process inherent to the nature of democratic capitalism. Capitalism, he argues, is resilient. Its first form, Capitalism 1.0, was the classical laissez-faire capitalism that lasted from 1776 until 1930. NeYest was Capitalism 2.0, New Deal Keynesian social capitalism created in the 1930s and eYestinguished in the 1970s. Its last mutation, Reagan-Thatcher market fundamentalism, culminated in the financially-dominated globalization of the past decade and triggered the recession of 2009-10. The self-destruction of Capitalism 3.0 leaves the field open for the neYest phase of capitalism's evolution. Capitalism is likely to transform in the coming decades into something different both from the totally deregulated market fundamentalism of Reagan/Thatcher and from the Roosevelt-Kennedy era. This is Capitalism 4.0.Anatole Kaletsky is editor-at-large of The Times of London, where he writes a column on politics, economics, and international relations. Kaletsky was a full-time journalist for The Times, Financial Times, and The Economist from 1976 until 1998 when he eYespanded his activities to include economic forecasting and financial consulting.