It’s already one of the major issues of the 2020 presidential campaign: Does American capitalism still work?
In the face of ever widening income disparity – not just exponential upward movement at the top, but also, at best, stagnation near the bottom — economic inequality is a key social and political topic.
Which is why Joseph Stiglitz’ 55th high school reunion was so telling.
It was about four years ago, the Nobel Prize winning economist was reminiscing with old friends in Gary, IN, when he heard a story that made him stand up straight. Then he heard another. And another.
These classmates’ stories brought to life the statistics Stiglitz had been seeing in his economic charts: Lost jobs, poor access to health care, shorter life spans, diminishing hope. The numbers hadn’t lied, and now they were talking to Stiglitz at his high school reunion.
Their message: The economy was broken. In fact, more than just the economy wasn’t working – Capitalism itself seemed off.
Following that class reunion, Stiglitz further saw an erosion of society’s pillars, and – being an economist – connected them all: The economy, capitalism, and democracy. He sounded the alarm, and the result is his new, powerful book: “People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent.”
Beyond the Nobel Prize, Stiglitz' career highlights include: He served as President Clinton’s Chair of the US Council of Economic Advisers and Chief Economist of the World Bank. He’s the best-selling author of more than 10 books and today is a University Professor at Columbia University.
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