Trickle-down neo-liberal economics has not worked. Well, not exactly. It’s worked beautifully for the rich. U.S. income inequality has returned to levels not seen since the 1920s. The top 1% rakes in one-fourth of the national income and has assets equivalent to half the national wealth. The Age of Inequality began in earnest more than 30 years ago. Wages, which had been constantly rising, flattened out. Families got hooked on the new money: credit cards. Debt skyrocketed. Workers took second jobs to make ends meet. The huge transfer of wealth upwards was accompanied by attacks on unions. Recall Reagan’s first action was to break a union. Then corporations started outsourcing, moving high paying jobs overseas. Throw in tax cuts and subsidies and you have a poisonous economic cocktail for the average worker. Inequality poses serious questions about the nature of democracy, fairness and economic justice.
Joseph Stiglitz, University Professor at Columbia, is the recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics. He was chair of the Council on Economic Advisors under Clinton. He also served as senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank. His efforts to move the bank in a more progressive direction got him fired. He is the author of “Globalization and Its Discontents” and “The Roaring Nineties.”
Program #STIJ004. Recorded in Beaverton, OR on June 14, 2012.