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People, Power, and Profits

Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent
Narrated by: Sean Runnette
Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
Categories: Money & Finance, Economics
4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

A Nobel prize winner challenges us to throw off the free market fundamentalists and reclaim our economy.  

We all have the sense that the American economy - and its government - tilts toward big business, but as Joseph E. Stiglitz explains in his new book, People, Power, and Profits, the situation is dire. A few corporations have come to dominate entire sectors of the economy, 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 our 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 of 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 America's economic might and its democracy.

©2019 Joseph E. Stiglitz (P)2019 Tantor

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Essential for our current political economy

ambitious and broad sweeping. I'm interested in reading Joe's more detailed works. This work could use more examples.

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Explains today’s main challenges

A good, well researched, explanation of how economic inequality has risen along with the undermining of democratic institutions. While this has happened in many high income countries in recent years the diagnosis and potential solutions are mainly US focused.

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Ruined by monotonous reader

Critical and interesting ideas are carefully put forward by the author, but few, I fear, will persist to the end with this lifeless, pedantic voice unless they are already convinced by the importance of the contents, as I was. I dare not recommend this to anyone, even though there are very many who would benefit. What a shame.

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  • Jeff Lacy
  • 26-04-20

A road map from where we are to where we should go

Noble Prize winner Joseph Stiller writes another volume addressing the United States’s economic and political morass and presents the economic reforms that can be made, and urges the political will to make them. This is one of those essential reads. If we could get it in more hands.

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  • marwalk
  • 30-08-19

Government policy ready-made for implementation

Here is government policy ready-made for implementation. Through solid argument and historical example, Joseph E. Stiglitz demonstrates that the solution is Keynesian—government unapologetically has an indispensable role in the well-being of everyone, including the rich in a fair relationship.

Stiglitz shreds the tired old demagogy of free market ideology (both intellectual and popular), with articulate and well researched refutation of its failed trickle-down theory and conservative folklore about freeloaders. Here you will find effective detox from the Chicago school of economics supply side snake oil that has been artificially injected into policy and public opinion for the past 40 years—the author offers a well deserved shout out to Nancy MacLean for her book, "Democracy in Chains" (an insightful work that has struck a nerve about the deliberate suppression of public will, and about which there has been a telling amount of gaslighting from the libertarian right wing).

Government, democracy, and public opinion must be freed from their current capture by wealthy corporate forces in finance and other sectors. This will be difficult to achieve, but it is possible with sufficient public awareness and pressure.

Along with protecting people from economic fluctuations outside of their control, the economy will grow only when extractive practices that merely transfer wealth from poor to rich cease to operate. That means minimizing the current regime of rent seeking in financial markets and elsewhere, and incentivizing technological innovations that create true wealth—this is not happening under the dominant religion of short term profits and grossly distorted patent system.

This book addresses technical economic issues, but it is easily followed by those without training in economics. The unfair rigging of past and current economic policy is depressing. But the realism of the solutions proposed in this book are cause for hope—let's make it happen.

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  • Brad
  • 28-05-19

Excellent Summary

While I can’t say the ideas are new in this book the author does an excellent job of pulling all the criticisms of our current system together and providing concrete solutions. Required reading for any progressive.

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  • Indless
  • 27-05-19

simple enough a politician could understand it

hopefully our foolish politicians will give this a listen before the next erroneous tax bill

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-06-20

If you wish to understand why the US has reached its demise today, read this book.

This book uses empirical evidence to explain why the US social and economic values have changed throughout the course of history, particularly during the tenure of Trump.

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  • Michael Pelz Sherman
  • 16-02-20

Great summary of progressive theory, but a bit dry

The book does a great job of breaking down progressive economic and political theory.

Lots of great points but nothing too radical. Reads like a Powerpoint presentation of a doctoral thesis. :-) A bit of a slog to get through, honestly.

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  • Sabrina Defeyter
  • 09-01-20

Good vision and explained clearly

The ideas are well argumented and a good foundation to convince people to make the choices necessary to provide better living conditions for all and turning away from egotistical thinking.

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  • Carl Howard
  • 28-06-19

Joseph Stiglitz' vision for a reclaimed America

I respect Joe Stiglitz. I respect his opinions, his experience and his judgment. When he speaks, much as with Richard Wolff or Bill Black, I listen. However, when he expresses the view that out of control markets and an American polity now wholly in the cash-soaked stranglehold of corporate capture can somehow be reclaimed from its current iteration of absolute immoral degeneracy through a combination of existing and new laws, and the implementation of a brash new can-do spirit, I can not agree. Only replacing Capitalism with human-centered, rational, egalitarian economics can ever achieve that.

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  • Jiehui
  • 06-09-19

Very political

This book is very political and with less content on economics than it should. It criticized the right while favored the left without much substantial objectivity.

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  • Jack Wilde
  • 17-05-19

Partisan, Pandering & the almighty straw man

I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. As the title suggests this book is littered with partisan arguments and pandering to the common notions of today with few specifics as evidence. I have to generalize here but it’s my overall impression. Many times we are referenced that we learned a concept in a previous chapter, in which the author only vaguely gets to the first principles of the matter. I believe the author has strongly conflated corporatism with the principles and values of a free market defender like Milton Friedman. While I completely agree with the diagnosis of the problem (corporatism), I am in complete opposition to the proscribed remedy. I think the author shows a lack of belief in freedom and the responsibility of the individual.

5 people found this helpful