The impact of inequality on societies is now increasingly well understood – higher crime, health problems and mental illness, lower educational achievements, social cohesion and life expectancy. But what are the causes of inequality, why is it growing so rapidly, and how is it affecting the economy?
These are the questions Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, professor at Columbia University, will discuss in a presentation of his latest book, The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future. In this talk, Stiglitz will discuss how, left to their own devices, markets are neither efficient nor stable, and will tend to accumulate money in the hands of the few. He will also demonstrate how government policies and political institutions, far from countering these trends, often enhance them, and that politics frequently shapes markets in ways that advantage the richest over the rest. This in turn weakens democracy and the rule of law by putting more and more political power in the hands of the wealthy. Beyond these social and political costs, however, inequality has grave consequences for the economy. Moving money from the middle and bottom of society to the top—as has increasingly been happening—stifles entrepreneurship, produces slower growth and lower GDP, and also even destabilizes the economy.
Throughout the course of the evening, Stiglitz will illuminate how the growing inequality in America and many other countries is not only unfair, but also unwise. The talk will also strike a hopeful note, arguing that the current trends are in no way inevitable and he will put forth the concrete set of reforms that he proposes in his book, which would create an economy with less inequality and more growth and opportunity. These are vital issues for an election year in a country that is still struggling to get its battered economy back on track.
The presentation will be followed by a discussion between Joseph Stiglitz, Michael Cohen, Director of the New School Graduate Program in International Affairs and Teresa Ghilarducci, Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Analysis and Director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at The New School, moderated by New School president David Van Zandt.
When & Where
The New School
The New School is a major, degree-granting university where design and social research drive approaches to studying issues of our time. United by the core values of academic freedom, tolerance and experimentation, The New School prepares its more than 10,500 students to understand, contribute to, and succeed in a rapidly changing society, and thus make the world a better and more just place.
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