by Joseph Stiglitz
- Fair Trade for All; How Trade Can Promote Development (2007)
- People, Power, and Profits; Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent (2019)
From Nobel Prize-winning economist and bestselling author Joseph Stiglitz, People, Power and Profits is an account of the dangers of free market fundamentalism that reveals what has gone so wrong, but also shows us a way out.
We all have the sense that our economy tilts toward big business, but as Joseph E. Stiglitz explains in People, Power and Profits, a few corporations have come to dominate entire sectors, contributing to skyrocketing inequality and slow growth. This is how the financial industry has managed to write its own regulations, tech companies have accumulated reams of personal data with little oversight, and government has negotiated trade deals that fail to represent the best interests of workers. Too many have made their wealth through exploitation of others rather than through wealth creation. If something isn't done, new technologies may make matters worse, increasing inequality and unemployment.
Stiglitz identifies the true sources of wealth and increases in standards of living, based on learning, advances in science and technology, and the rule of law. He shows that the assault on the judiciary, universities, and the media undermines the very institutions that have long been the foundation of economic prosperity and democracy.
Helpless though we may feel today, we are far from powerless. In fact, the economic solutions are often quite clear. We need to exploit the benefits of markets while taming their excesses, making sure that markets work for people and not the other way around. If enough rally behind this agenda for change, we can create a progressive capitalism that will recreate a shared prosperity. Stiglitz shows how a decent middle-class life can once again be attainable by all.
Daniel W. Drezner on The New York Times wrote:
"Demagogues do not help, he writes: 'Jobs were certainly destroyed in the process of globalisation, but they will be destroyed again in the process of the reckless deglobalisation.' The first half of the book examines four trends the author believes set the US on a path to a dismal economy: monopoly power, mishandled globalisation, poor financial regulation and new technologies that enable further exploitation and psychological manipulation — all familiar themes on the Democratic party’s campaign trail. The second part sets out what to do next. Alongside the standard centre-left prescriptions of more government spending, a stronger welfare state and beefed up regulation, are a few of the more radical ideas bounced around by Democratic outriders: employment guarantee or universal basic income. None of the ideas is original and all are explored better elsewhere, but that is not really the point. This eminent economist provides an authoritative defence of government intervention using mainstream economics and a justification for how to build a fairer society without sacrificing growth."
"He argues that the American system of capitalism has fallen down and needs government help to get back up again. People, Power, and Profits builds on Stiglitz’s earlier work and adds some pretty big ambitions. In the preface, he writes: 'This is a time for major changes. Incrementalism — minor tweaks to our political and economic system — are inadequate to the tasks at hand.' [...] Stiglitz’s diagnosis of what ails the American economy will have a familiar ring to anyone who has followed these debates. The rules of the game have been stacked in favor of the haves over the have-nots. This has widened economic inequality and increased the concentration of market power among leading firms in every sector, slowing down broad-based productivity growth. These firms and wealthy individuals are converting their riches into political power, further revising the rules to entrench their position at the top. [...] People, Power, and Profits goes beyond diagnosis to treatment. At the core of Stiglitz’s plan is the strengthening of the state. [...] He proposes a whole host of reforms, including significant investments in public goods like basic research, more stringent regulation of firms and measures to preserve and protect the voting franchise. [...] One of his book’s comparative advantages is that while Stiglitz has impeccable economic credentials, he also recognizes some of his profession’s blind spots. He observes, correctly, that standard textbook economics talks a lot about competition but little about economic power. He also excels at swatting away bromides about the miracles of markets and the failures of governments. [...] Stiglitz could have done much better, however, if he had narrowed his focus to the sharpest arguments in his policy quiver. [...] Stiglitz should be selling the hell out of it; instead, he breezes through it in one page. Some of his other ideas seem less thought out or more politically toxic. [...]"
- Interview with Stiglitz and excerpt from the book, The Economist, 8 July 2019
Table of Contents of People, Power and Profits
Part I - Losing the Way
- Losing the Way
- Toward a More Dismal Economy
- Exploitation and Market Power
- America at War with Itself about Globalization
- Finance and the American Crisis
- The Challenge of New Technologies
- Why Government?
Part II - Reconstructing American Politics and Economics: The Way Forward
- Restoring Democracy
- Restoring a Dynamic Economy with Jobs and Opportunity for All
- A Decent Life for All
- Reclaiming America
About Joseph Stiglitz
Joseph E. Stiglitz is University Professor at Columbia University and Co-founder and Executive Director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue. A winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001, he was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1993-95. He is the author of many books, including the international bestseller Globalization and Its Discontents, which has been translated into 28 languages.