An Inequality Reading List

On doing some research for a thing on inequality, I’ve been surfing around and discovered a couple great published works that are worth your time:

1) The Price of Inequality, by Joseph Stiglitz. This is a fairly personal and polemical book that nonetheless has its economic case down, as one would expect. It has relatively less on the mechanisms of inequality, and more on the negative effects of same. Overall, quite good.

2) Getting Back to Full Employment, by Jared Bernstein and Dean Baker. This is a little bit more measured and formal book that is nonetheless even more convincing on the merits. What it loses in readability compared to Stiglitz it gains in comprehensiveness. Also very good.

3) “Inequality, the Great Recession, and Slow Recovery,” by Barry Z. Cynamon and Steven M. Fazzari. This zeros in on the particular issue how much inequality is bound up in our current troubles, making a pretty solid case that it has a lot to do with them. It’s an academic paper, but still pretty readable. Very interesting.

In any case, this will be a big topic of discussion in 2014, keep your eye on it. The takeaway, for now: inequality is a huge problem, both in itself and the obstacles it presents to recovery. The first step to remedy it is to pursue full employment by any means necessary.

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Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper is national correspondent for the Week, and a former web editor for the Washington Monthly.