Opinion (Joseph Stiglitz, professor of economics at Columbia University and Nobel laureate): “The long malaise into which the economy seems to be settling, and the growing divide between the 1 percent and the rest — an inequality not only of outcomes but also of opportunity. To me, these problems are two sides of the same coin: with inequality at its highest level since before the Depression, a robust recovery will be difficult in the short term, and the American dream — a good life in exchange for hard work — is slowly dying.
“There are four major reasons inequality is squelching our recovery. The most immediate is that our middle class is too weak to support the consumer spending that has historically driven our economic growth. …
“Second, the hollowing out of the middle class since the 1970s, a phenomenon interrupted only briefly in the 1990s, means that they are unable to invest in their future, by educating themselves and their children and by starting or improving businesses.
“Third, the weakness of the middle class is holding back tax receipts. ….
“Fourth, inequality is associated with more frequent and more severe boom-and-bust cycles that make our economy more volatile and vulnerable. … The International Monetary Fund has noted the systematic relationship between economic instability and economic inequality, but American leaders haven’t absorbed the lesson.
Inequality leads to political inequality and a broken decision-making process. High unemployment, of course, depresses wages. Adjusted for inflation, real wages have stagnated or fallen. … Since the Great Recession, most of the increase in the nation’s wealth has gone to the very top.
“Meanwhile, as incomes have stagnated or fallen, tuition has soared. … We could have recognized that when young people are jobless, their skills atrophy. We could have made sure that every young person was either in school, in a training program or on a job. Instead, we let youth unemployment rise to twice the national average. The children of the rich can stay in college or attend graduate school, without accumulating enormous debt, or take unpaid internships to beef up their résumés. Not so for those in the middle and bottom. We are sowing the seeds of ever more inequality in the coming years. …
“Globalization, and the unbalanced way it has been pursued, has shifted bargaining power away from workers: firms can threaten to move elsewhere, especially when tax laws treat such overseas investments so favorably. This in turn has weakened unions.”
My Comment: Inequality is the principle criterion of our world—egoism; it can be eradicated only through integral education which everyone should go through so that humanity can get rid of its evil and survive.