Over the past thirty years, the issue of economic inequality has emerged from the backwaters of economics to claim center stage in the political discourse of America and beyond---a change prompted by a troubling fact: numerous measures of income inequality, especially in the United States in the last quarter of the twentieth century, have risen sharply in recent years. Even so, many people remain confused about what, exactly, politicians and media persons mean when they discuss inequality. What does "economic inequality" mean? How is it measured? Why should we care? Why did inequality rise in the United States? Is rising inequality an inevitable feature of capitalism? What should we do about it?
Inequality: What Everyone Needs to Know takes up these questions and more in plain and clear language, bringing to life one of the great economic and political debates of our age.
"To have had Jamie Galbraith as my adviser in the Ministry of Finance, during our epic struggle against wholesale economic irrationality at the height of its vengefulness, was a blessing. To be able to count on Jamie Galbraith as a close friend borders on outrageously good fortune." -- Yanis Varoufakis
"One can only agree with James Galbraith when he observes that “The economic crisis in Greece is one of the great economic and political dramas of our time … and a test case for the long-term viability of the Euro.” I greatly admire Professor Galbraith not only for his contributions to economic theory but also for his ability to free himself from the shackles of ideology and deal with reality as it effectively is. I fully concur with his conclusions." --Giuseppe Guarino, Former Finance Minister of Italy
"To read James K. Galbraith is to think afresh, and at the same time to reconcile oneself with reality. Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice is a true story: there was hemlock in the cup. It is a comfort, at least, to know the truth."--Michel Rocard, former Prime Minister of France
"[P]otentially groundbreaking new methodology . . . Galbraith discredits a number of shibboleths of the economics profession. . . . In this rich study, the author brings both transparency and a fresh approach to a profession where a shake-up seems more than overdue. Economics specialists will enjoy this book, but so too will general readers disenchanted with current economic orthodoxies." --Kirkus Reviews
"In Inequality and Instability, James K. Galbraith brings to bear his considerable experience in government and academia to examine one of the most pressing issues of our time. In this accessible and far-reaching volume, he investigates not only the depth and breadth of inequality in Europe, America, and elsewhere, but also its implications for politics and society. It's no surprise that Galbraith, who is well known for having pioneered new understandings of economic inequality, leaves no stone unturned in his discussion of metrics and methodologies...It is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand our political and economic era."--Joseph E. Stiglitz, author of Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics
"Galbraith puts his pessimism into an engaging, plausible frame. His contentions deserve the attention of all economists and serious financial minds across the political spectrum."– Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Forceful prose and admittedly provocative suggestions.... Students of economics will enjoy the robust, fearless rebuke he delivers to some of the discipline’s giants.... A cleareyed…analysis of the new normal…for the 21st century.”– Kirkus
"Galbraith's study marks another sharp and suggestive installment in the ongoing effort to determine how and why our economic and political leaders have lost their once-confident grasp of sound strategies to promote macroeconomic growth. And to restore a measure of that lost confidence Galbraith lays out a bold intellectual agenda."– Book Forum
"Shows how to break the spell that conservatives have cast over the minds of liberals (and everyone else) for many years." -- Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences (2001)
"James Galbraith elegantly and effectively counters the economic fundamentalism that has captured public discourse in recent years, and offers a cogent guide to the real political economy. Myth-busting, far-ranging, and eye-opening." -- Robert B. Reich, Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley
"With a combination of erudition, insight, and wit worthy of John Kenneth Galbraith, Thorstein Veblen, and John Maynard Keynes, James K. Galbraith offers a critique of the conventional unwisdom about the economy that is as compelling as it is provocative." -- Michael Lind, Whitehead Senior Fellow at The New America Foundation and author of The American Way of Strategy
'Galbraith for the Twenty-first century! Prescient, lucid, elegant. Where others are lost groping in the shadows, James K. Galbraith sees the big picture. His writing is like a torch that guides us through the cave of the present into the light.' - Sidney Blumenthal, formerly Senior Advisor to President Clinton and author of The Clinton Wars
'The reason Jamie Galbraith is such an important writer is because he asks the right questions. You would be amazed at the number of people who pass for pundits or even sages who can't hit the backboard with a question, much less hit the net. That Galbraith knows the answers too strikes me less impressive. He is after all, an economist and a political scientist and an academic; he's supposed to know these things. He even did time in the bowels of congress and so knows how it actually works. Galbraith's writing is crisp, funny, and incisive. Krugman, move over, Galbraith is here.' - Molly Ivins is a syndicated columnist, co-author of Bushwhacked: Life in George Bush's America, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.