Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just Before the Great Crisis

Hardcover | March 7, 2012

byJames K. Galbraith

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In the press, at the Capitol, on Wall Street and around the world, people are waking up to the dangers of inequality as never before. Mainstream journalists now note that income inequality in America today is greater than at any time since 1929 - just before the Great Depression. Perhaps thisis not accidental. Where does inequality come from? And how does it lead to economic instability? In Inequality and Instability, leading economist James K. Galbraith demonstrates that finance is the driver converting inequality into instability. Those without money - made more numerous by inequality - find little recourse but to the ancient remedy of the loan. Their urges and needs, for bad andfor good, are abetted by the aggressive desire of those with money to lend. But if the balloon of debt explodes, as it did in 2008, it disrupts an entire economy built upon a financial house of cards. And not merely in the United States: debt crises and economic instability can be linked toinequality all around the world. To support this conclusion, Galbraith marshals the data as never before, examining it in light of geography, economic change, and politics. For example, the dramatic rise of inequality in the United States in the 1990s correlated with the information-technology boom, whose wealth was concentrated injust three counties of Northern California, the Seattle area, and Manhattan. As for what drives this inequality, he writes, we need look no further than the capital markets - since those at the top have benefited not simply from salaries and bonuses, but increasingly from stock options, assetvaluations, and capital gains. A landmark work of research and original insight, Inequality and Instability will change forever the way we understand this pivotal topic.

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In the press, at the Capitol, on Wall Street and around the world, people are waking up to the dangers of inequality as never before. Mainstream journalists now note that income inequality in America today is greater than at any time since 1929 - just before the Great Depression. Perhaps thisis not accidental. Where does inequality com...

James K. Galbraith is Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, the University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations. He is a leading economist whose books include The Predator State, Inequality and Industrial Change, and Created Unequal.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:March 7, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019985565X

ISBN - 13:9780199855650

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Table of Contents

1. The Physics and Ethics of Inequality2. The Need for New Inequality Measures3. Pay Inequality and World Development4. Estimating the Inequality of Household Incomes5. Economic Inequality and Political Regimes6. The Geography of Inequality in America, 1969 to 20077. State-Level Income Inequality and American Elections8. Inequality and Unemployment in Europe: A Question of Levels9. European Wages and the Flexibility Thesis10. Globalization and Inequality in China11. Finance and Power in Argentina and Brazil12. Inequality in Cuba After the Soviet Collapse13. Economic Inequality and the World CrisisBibliography