This interview featuring Joseph Stiglitz describing the enormous amount of wealth controlled by the top one percent in America is excerpted from a forthcoming mini-documentary about income inequality by the Institute for New Economic Thinking, produced by Four Corners Media.
A few quotations from the preview:
“The most striking thing about income inequality in the United States today is the enormous share of the economic pie that goes to the upper 1% or the upper one tenth of one percent. The numbers vary from year to year but it is around 20 percent that goes to the upper one percent but their share of the national wealth is even higher. It’s about 40 percent depending on what numbers you look at. It’s much worse now than anytime since the Great Depression, 75 or 80 years ago.”
“If all that money going to the top was the result of contributions they had made to our economy, so that as they got more everybody else also got more, that would be one thing. But that’s not what’s been happening in America.”
“If you look at the income of the typical male worker in the United States today, it’s the same as it was in 1968. Almost half a century of stagnation,” Stiglitz argues.
“Inequality in economics is translated into inequality in politics, and particularly in the context of America where campaign finance is so important, lobbying is so important, the revolving door is so important. [So] we had a political process that said, ‘No, we can’t do those things that are more sustainable.’”
“Fundamentally, the issue will be whether we can do the political reforms that we need to make our politics work to create the economic policies and economic investments that we need.”
“We used to look at America as the land of opportunity…In fact, mobility [and] opportunity in the U.S. today is lower than it is in any of the advanced economies. So this notion of America as a land of opportunity has vanished.”