The inequality trap : fighting capitalism instead of poverty / William Watson.

by Watson, William G [author.]Looking glass.

Series: UTP insights: Publisher: Toronto, Ontario : University of Toronto Press, [2015]Description: xviii, 218 pages ; 23 cm. : illustrations (colour).ISBN: 9781442637245 ; 1442637242 .Subject(s): EqualityLooking glass | CapitalismLooking glass | EconomicsLooking glassNote: Includes bibliographical references and index. Summary: "US President Barack Obama has called economic inequality the "defining issue of our time." It has inspired the "Occupy" movements, made a French economist into a global celebrity, and given us a new expression--the "one percent." But is our preoccupation with inequality really justified? Or wise? In his new book, William Watson argues that focusing on inequality is both an error and a trap. It is an error because much inequality is "good," the reward for thrift, industry, and invention. It is a trap because it leads us to fixate on the top end of the income distribution, rather than on those at the bottom who need help most. In fact, if we respond to growing inequality by fighting capitalism rather than poverty, we may end up both poorer and less equal. Explaining the complexities of modern economics in a clear, accessible style, The Inequality Trap is the must-read rejoinder to the idea that fighting inequality should be our top policy priority."-- From publisher's website.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

US President Barack Obama has called economic inequality the "defining issue of our time." It has inspired the "Occupy" movements, made a French economist into a global celebrity, and given us a new expression - the "one percent." But is our preoccupation with inequality really justified? Or wise?

In his new book, William Watson argues that focusing on inequality is both an error and a trap. It is an error because much inequality is "good," the reward for thrift, industry, and invention. It is a trap because it leads us to fixate on the top end of the income distribution, rather than on those at the bottom who need help most. In fact, if we respond to growing inequality by fighting capitalism rather than poverty, we may end up both poorer and less equal.

Explaining the complexities of modern economics in a clear, accessible style, The Inequality Trap is the must-read rejoinder to the idea that fighting inequality should be our top policy priority.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

"US President Barack Obama has called economic inequality the "defining issue of our time." It has inspired the "Occupy" movements, made a French economist into a global celebrity, and given us a new expression--the "one percent." But is our preoccupation with inequality really justified? Or wise? In his new book, William Watson argues that focusing on inequality is both an error and a trap. It is an error because much inequality is "good," the reward for thrift, industry, and invention. It is a trap because it leads us to fixate on the top end of the income distribution, rather than on those at the bottom who need help most. In fact, if we respond to growing inequality by fighting capitalism rather than poverty, we may end up both poorer and less equal. Explaining the complexities of modern economics in a clear, accessible style, The Inequality Trap is the must-read rejoinder to the idea that fighting inequality should be our top policy priority."-- From publisher's website.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Preface: The Inequality Trap (p. xi)
  • Acknowledgments (p. xix)
  • 1 History: The Sequel (p. 3)
  • 2 The Deserving Rich (p. 16)
  • 3 Ginis Rising (p. 47)
  • 4 Who Are the 1 Per Cent? (p. 78)
  • 5 Is Good Inequality Bad, Too? (p. 86)
  • 6 Poverty (p. 109)
  • 7 Opportunity (p. 130)
  • 8 Anti-Occupy (p. 143)
  • References (p. 193)
  • Index (p. 205)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Watson (McGill Univ.) argues that the contemporary obsession with the increase in economic inequality is both an "error" and a "trap." The error is failing to distinguish between "bad" inequality and "good." The author writes that "bad inequality" is associated with rent-seeking and corruption; he contends that "good inequality" is associated with risk taking and innovation. Watson disputes the notion that this good inequality can be bad--as argued by Joseph Stiglitz in The Price of Inequality (CH, Feb'13, 50-3543)--through the effect of positional goods, educational opportunities, and political influence. He posits that policies that do not distinguish the two types of inequality risk stifling the economic growth potential that has set market economies apart from all the others. The "trap" lies in focusing on inequality, most notably the ascendancy of the 1 percent, which takes attention away from the part of the income distribution that could really use help--namely, the poor. Accessible and extraordinarily well written, this volume is full of fascinating insights. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers. --Robert Scott Rycroft, University of Mary Washington

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