Day 60 of Occupy Wall Street © David Shankbone | Flickr

Minding the Gap of “The Great Divide”

A review of the book by Joseph Stiglitz

In the wake of Occupy Wall Street and the anti-austerity protests in Spain, Greece, and elsewhere around the world, economic inequality has emerged as one of the more hotly debated issues in the public sphere. One of the more prominent voices in the discussion is economist Joseph Stiglitz, whose May 2011 Vanity Fair article “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” …

Highclere Castle, England, where Downton Abbey is filmed © Bas Sijpkes | Wikimedia Commons

An Interview with Lance Taylor on Inequality

In a new paper for the Institute For New Economic Thinking’s Working Group on the Political Economy of Distribution, economist Lance Taylor and his colleagues examine income inequality using new tools and models that give us a more nuanced — and frightening — picture than we’ve had before. Their simulation models show how so-called “reasonable” modifications like modest tax increases on the wealthy and boosting low wages are not going to be enough to stem the disproportionate tide of income rushing toward the rich. Taylor’s research challenges the approaches of American policy makers, the assumptions of traditional economists, and some of the conclusions drawn by Thomas Piketty and Larry Summers. Bottom line: We’re not yet talking about the kinds of major changes needed to keep us from becoming a Downton Abbey society.

Saving money for lottery © Lisa Brewster | Flickr
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

America as a Lottery

In a series of recent works on the rise of inequality in the United States and other countries, economists have proposed a number of policies that might help reverse current trends. But critics of Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman and Thomas Piketty also often complain that their proposals aren’t feasible politically.

But why should the proposal of polices meant to promote a more egalitarian society have become a political non-starter in the United States, of all countries? …