Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz stopped by “Democracy Now!” on Wednesday to chat with Amy Goodman about his new book, “The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future.” In response to a Bloomberg News report that the top CEOs on Wall Street enjoyed a pay increase of 20 percent since last year, Stiglitz argued that the inequalities in American society present dangers to the legal, scientific and economic systems, which will ultimately undermine the entire social order. Stiglitz noted that six members of the Walton family (of Wal-Mart fame) had wealth equivalent to the entire bottom 30 percent of Americans. Those who make the most important contributions to society—inventors, scientists and mathematicians like Alan Turing—are not being the most rewarded, as capitalism should dictate. Instead, financial innovators who game the system and bring the global market to the edge of destruction, along with their own companies, are walking away with massive profits.
He also commented that equality of opportunity in America was the worst of any advanced industrial nation. Despite notable rags-to-riches stories, the number of people who rise from poverty to wealth is astoundingly low. The American Dream, Stiglitz said, is being forfeited.—CN