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Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just Before the Great Crisis (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 3. Mai 2012


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Produktinformation

  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 324 Seiten
  • Verlag: Oxford Univ Pr (3. Mai 2012)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 019985565X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199855650
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 23,6 x 2,5 x 16,3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 196.933 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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Produktbeschreibungen

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an astoundingly broad, illuminating, and detailed examination of the global rise in income inequality between 1980 to the dawn of the financial crisis in 2008...Galbraith boldly brings the problem of radical inequality from the margins to the centre of economic analysis. Imani Perry, London School of Economics A truly pathbreaking work of scholarship. Barry Eichengreen A must-read for anyone who wishes to understand our political and economic era. Joseph E. Stiglitz James K. Galbraiths Marco Passarella, Economic Issues

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

James K. Galbraith is the Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations and Professor of Government at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. He is the author most recently of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too

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Ein wichtiger und richtungsweisender Ansatz, der gerade in der EURO-Krise heftig zum Nachdenken anregt. Das Buch erfordert allerdings etwas statistisches und mathematischer Verständnis, es liest sich nicht "einfach so weg". Aber die Mühe wird reich belohnt! Leider sind die Graphiken aus Kostengründen vom Verlag in b/w gesetzt und damit kaum lesbar.
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Amazon.com: 12 Rezensionen
70 von 71 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Revolutionary 19. April 2012
Von Hans G. Despain - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
James Galbraith deserves the Nobel Prize in Economics for his several decades of work on economic inequality. _Inequality and Instability_ attempts to summarize, synthesis, and further develop this phenomenal research. Galbraith has redefined the study of economic inequality; for Galbraith inequality is not merely an ethical issue, but inequality radically determines a society's level of unemployment, growth and development, and frequency and depth of economic crises.

Galbraith's research argues and convincingly demonstrates inequality largely determines (1) the relative stability of a macroeconomy, (2) market economies generate inequality, and inequality destabilizes the economic system, i.e. generates economic crises, (3) the primary industry responsible for inequality is finance and the institutional structure of finance within a society, this implies (4) technology is not the primary cause of inequality, nor even a significant cause of inequality at a national level, and (5) outsourcing and international competition has not been a significant cause of inequality, instead (6) macroeconomic policy (both monetary and fiscal, but more accurately especially monetary policy, but also fiscal policy determine the degree of inequality and inequality determines the level of stability or instability of an economy) and political ideology, i.e. political economy radically determine the degree of inequality.

Now for the less happy analysis.

In a three sentence evaluation of the book, Nobel Prize winner economist Joseph E. Stiglitz writes: "In _Inequality and Instability_, James K. Galbraith examines one the most pressing issues of our time. In this accessible and far-reaching volume he investigates not only the depth and breadth of inequality in Europe, America, and elsewhere, but also its implications for politics and society. It is a must-read, for anyone who wishes to understand our political and economic era."

I fully endorse the first and third sentences. Indeed, I fully endorse the second sentence, save one single word, i.e. accessible. If you are a Ph.D., or a Ph.D. student, this book is accessible. Moreover, if you have a mentor or you are in an upper division undergraduate college economic course with an instructor to explain regression equations, Theil statistics, Gini coefficients, etc. this book will be accessible. However, if you are unacquainted with these phenomena, this book will be less then accessible.

Nonetheless, this book is too important to be ignored by a popular audience, every engaged citizen should absorb the basic argument. I have a suggestion. First, pick up a copy of Galbraith's _Predator State_ (2006), and read chapter 7, titled "What the Rise of Inequality is Really About", as a preface to _Inequality and Instability_. Second, read an abridged version of _Inequality and Instability_, before attempting to tackle the entire book. My suggested abridged version (for an U.S. audience) is, chapter 1, pp. 47-50 of chapter 3, (and possibly pp. 50-62 of chapter 3), then chapters 6, 7 and 13.

What will be learned can be summarized as follows:

(1) Inequality generates unemployment, and unemployment generates inequality, this I dub `Galbraith's Law.' Unemployment was not much of a problem post-Reagan (post-1984-5), but inequality has been on the rise. What Galbraith's Law suggests is if inequality is on the rise, unemployment is to follow. This is what happened in 2007-8, inequality destabilized the economy, a crisis manifested, and generated unemployment. Since the Great Recession of 2007-8, the Obama administration has failed to address inequality; consequently Galbraith's Law suggests the "Jobless recovery" will continue until inequality is reduced.

(2) The financial industry, and its regulation or lack of regulation, is the primary determinant of the degree of inequality in an economy.

(3) The level of inequality radically determines the stability (low inequality) and instability (high inequality) of a macroeconomy.

(4) Economic policy can reduce or increase inequality in a society. Because of the importance of finance, monetary policy and interest rate changes can be argued to be the most important policy as both culprit and mediator of inequality.

(5) Although free-market labor market and wage policy does not necessarily cause severe income inequality, progressive labor market and wage policy is important policy to combat income inequality caused by the functioning (and dysfunction) of the financial industry which generates income inequality.
11 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Overly Technical - 28. Mai 2012
Von Loyd E. Eskildson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Galbraith's book is chock full of esoteric equations and explanations built up over 15-some years, definitely not light reading, undoubtedly intended for serious econometricians only. It presents evidence that the rise of inequality mirrors the stock market in the U.S. and the rise of finance and free-market policies elsewhere. The data purport to show that more equal societies enjoy lower unemployment.

Galbraith has concluded from his research that waht has driven rising inequalities of income in the U.S. has been rising stock prices, asset valuations, and income drawn from stock option realizations, as well as wages and salaries paid in sectors financed by new equity. (Think Instagram, acquired after about seven years' of their work for $1 billion, and with only 27 employees.) These incomes at the very top were highly concentrated into 15 counties, and five in particular - the NYC area, three associated with Silicon Valley, and King Co. Washington. States with higher levels of inequality tend to have lower voter turnout rates - consistent with the idea the wealthier voters have a strong interest in restricting access to voting by poor people. (Yet, none of Galbraith's examples of the highest income counties - California, New York, and Washington, do so.)

Within Europe, Galbraith reports that countries with less pay inequality systematically enjoy less unemployment, other things being equal. He also asserts that Europe overall has more income inequality than the U.S., something that does not fit with my understanding that the U.S. and China lead in this dimension. Continuing, Galbraith tells us there is strong evidence that inequality rose through most of the world during globalization, and that recent winning sectors in the U.S. have not generated many jobs - (eg. Facebook's initial $100 billion valuation is linked to only 3,200 jobs).
6 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Very interesting 13. August 2012
Von George Hariton - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Research on income inequality has been plagued by a lack of good data on inequality within countries. The World Bank put together a data base in 1996 (updated and extended since), based on surveys in various countries, but the data are sparse and seldom really comparable. The University of Texas Inequality Program (UTIP) has built a new data base which they hope is better. This book is a description of that new data base (the first third of the book). As well it describes uses of the data base to explore voting patterns and other political impacts of inequality (most of the second third of the book) and some economic consequences of inequality (the rest of the book).

UTIP uses inequality in manufacturing wages (i.e. pay rates in the manufacturing sector) as a proxy for income inequality. If the proxy is good enough, that vastly improves the quality of the data, and so the range of questions that can be addressed. Galbraith spends Chapters 2 and 3 arguing that the proxy is good enough -- that manufacturing wage disparities do reflect income disparities closely enough for his analyses.

The rest of the book depends on whether the reader accepts these assertions or not. The problem, of course, is that the services sector is changing very rapidly, and any inferences from manufacturing to services may quickly be out of date. In any case, even the numerical analyses that Galbraith presents are not very convincing. For example, he uses the UTIP data to replicate the World Bank data. While the correspondence is good, it is not very good. (He fits a linear regression and gets R-square statistics of about 0.6, i.e. the UTIP data explains about 60% of the World Bank data.) While that is good enough to show that the two measures are related, I don't think that it is good enough for the applications later in the book. But then Galbraith says that the World Bank data are flawed anyway, so the point of the comparison is lost on me.

Anyway, if one accepts use of UTIP data, a few interesting conclusions followe. For example, while individual European countries show less income inequality than the U.S., Europe taken as a single entity shows more income inequality. Given Europe's higher unemployment rates (at least until recently) that suggests that greater income inequality correlates with greater unemployment, not the reverse. (I note that Galbraith isn't always careful to distinguish correlation and causation. His results fall far short of showing that inequality causes unemployment -- the causation could run the other way, or a third factor might be at play).

Another very interesting result is that global factors, including international financial credit, securities markets and so on, account for almost all the changes in inequality. Economic institutions also atre important. But that leaves very little scope for political interventions or indeed for a government role. Or at least that's how I read the last third of the book.

A comment on the book's accessibility: I found the book very readable. Yes, there are a few equations, but the reader can skip over those with no loss. Yes, there are some regression analyses, but their results are described in words in the text, so they can be skipped too. Galbraith is a good writer, and if you skip the tables, what he has to say flows nicely.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A must for decision makers 4. Mai 2013
Von Luis Maldonado Lince - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Decision makers , policy designers and strategists of all sorts should read James Galbraiths book. Reproducing the pre-crisis conditions, via faulty policies and strategies, will only lead the world economy to the begining of the same tragis vicious circle. A must read without doubt.
10 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Why do all the failed economists and pundits still sit high in their perches? 12. September 2012
Von A Citizen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
In the 12 hapless years of the present millennium, we have looked on as three great bubbles of consensus vanity have inflated and burst, each with consequences more dire than the last.

First there was the "New Economy," a millennial fever dream predicated on the twin idea's of a people's stock market and an eternal silicon prosperity; it collapsed eventually under the weight of its own fatuousness. 2nd was the Iraq war, an endeavor whose launch depended for its success on the turpitude of virtually every class of elite in Washington, particularly the tough-minded men of the media; an enterprise that destroyed the country it aimed to save and that helped to bankrupt our nation as well. And then Wall Street blew up the global economy. Empowered by bank deregulation and regulatory capture, Wall Street enlisted those tough-minded men of the media again to sell the world on the idea that financial innovations were making the global economy more stable by the minute. Central banks puffed an asset bubble like the world had never seen before, even if every journalist worth his byline was obliged to deny its existence until it was too late.

These episodes were costly and even disastrous, and after each one had run its course and duly exploded, I expected some sort of day of reckoning for their promoters. And, indeed, the last two disasters combined to force the Republican Party from its stranglehold on American government-for a time.

But what rankles now is our failure, after each of these disasters, to come to terms with how they were played. Each separate catastrophe should have been followed by a wave of apologies and resignations; taken together-and given that a good percentage of the pundit corps signed on to two or even three of these idiotic storylines -themy mandated mass firings in the newsrooms and op-ed pages of the nation. Quicker than you could say "Ahmed Chalabi," an entire generation of newsroom fools should have lost their jobs.

But that's not what happened. Plenty of journalists have been pushed out of late, but the ones responsible for deluding the public are not among them. Neocon extraordinaire Bill Kristol won a berth at the NYT (before losing it again), Krauthammer is still the thinking conservative's favorite, George Will drones crankily on, Thomas Friedman remains our leading dispenser of nonsense neologisms, and Niall Ferguson wipes his feet on a welcome mat that will never wear out. The day Larry Kudlow apologizes for slagging bubble-doubters as part of a sinister left-wing trick is the the the world will start spinning in reverse. S&P's first leads the parade of folly (triple A's for everyone!), then decides to downgrade US gov't debt, and is taken seriously in both endeavors. And the prospect of Fox News or CNBC apologizing for their role in puffing war bubble and financial bubbles is no better than a punch line: what they do is the opposite, launching new movements that stamp their crumbled fables "true" by popular demand.

The real mistake was my own. I believed that our public intelligentsia has succumbed to an amazing series of cognitive failures; that time after time they had gotten the facts wrong, ignored the clanging BS detector, made the sort of mistakes that would disqualify them from publishing in a HS newspaper, let alone the WaPo. What I didn't understand was that these were moral failures, mistakes that were hardwired into the belief systems of the organizations and professions and social classes in question. As such they were mistakes that- from the point of view of those organizations or professions and classes- shed no discredit on the individual chowderheads who made them. Holding them accountable was out of the question, and it remains off the table today.

These people ignored every flashing red signal, refused to listen to the whistleblowers, blew off the obvious screaming indicators that something was going wrong in the boardrooms of the nation, even talked us into an unnecessary war, for chrissake, and the bailout apparatus still stands ready should they eff things up again.

My aim here isn't to take some kind of victory lap or to get in the granite faces of our eternal pundit corps one more time-honestly, who really wants to read a twenty-part takedown of the social philosophy of, say, Jim Cramer?

Nor is it to blame Republicans for our problems. It is true that, from the scandal of CEO pay to the scandal of lobotomized regulators, each of the really monumental mistakes of our time arose from the trademark doctrines of the political right. And, yes, it was the Bush admin. that installed as National Archivist a scholar much criticized for his questionable research methods, that muzzled gov't scientists, and that declared war on organized intelligence in a hundred other ways.

But the problem goes far beyond politics. We have become a society that can't self-correct, that can't address its obvious problems, that can't pull out of its nosedive. And so to our list of disasters let us add this fourth entry: we have entered an age of folly that- for all our Facebooking and the twittling tweedle-dee-tweets of the twiterati- we can't wake up from.

Here Dean Baker, one of the few people who attempted a grand theory of folly, had this to say:

"We have people who have literally been wrong about everything having to do with the economy over the last 5 years. They totally missed the $8trillion housing bubble, the largest asset bubble in the history of the world...Then they underestimated the severity of the downturn, telling us the economy was going to bounce right back. And, they got the interest rate story wrong. They told us the large budget deficits caused by the downturn would lead the bond vigilantes to send interest rates through the roof. Instead they fell through the roof."

"So who gets listened to in national debates," Baker continues, "those who have been consistently right on all the key points, or those who have gotten things as wrong as you possibly can?"

It is not merely a matter of "who gets listened to" but WHY they get listened to. Recall in this connection the peculiar comment of White House Press Secr. Jay Carney in Dec. 2011 as he scrambled to get the Obama admin. off the hook for its tepid response to the slump: "There was not a single mainstream, Wall Street, academic economist who knew at the time, in Jan. of 2009, just how deep the economic hole was that we were in."

Of course there were plenty of economists who knew how bad things were. That one was easy to call. But if you limited your inquiries-as Carney is confessing the admin. did-to the statements of economists who are "mainstream" and "Wall Street" you would not have encountered such economists. You would have been counting on the wisdom of people who had been "wrong about everything," as Dean Baker put it. On the other hand you would've been listening to the greatest names of professional economics. And this, we know, is in keeping with Pres. Obama's deepest instincts: trust the experts.

But what happens when the experts are fools? What happens when their professions are corrupted, their jargon has become a shield against outside scrutiny, their process of peer review has been transformed into a device by which a professional faction can commandeer the discipline, excommunicate rivals, and give members of the "us" group endless pardons for their endless failures?

The economist James K. Galbraith, who was right about many of the disasters of our age but who is neither "mainstream" nor "Wall Street," once wrote that something very much like this had happened to his discipline:

"Leading active members of today's economic profession...have formed themselves into a kind of Politburo for correct economic thinking. As a general rule-as one might generally expect from a gentleman's club-this has placed them on the wrong side of every important policy issue, and not just recently but for decades. They predict disaster where none occurs. They deny the possibility of events that then happen...No one loses face, in this club, for having been wrong. No one is dis-invited from presenting papers at later annual meetings. And still less is anyone from the outside invited in."

Where does this leave the premature market skeptics, the ones (like Galbraith) who were right all along? The answer is, by and large, nowhere. These people have remained at the out-of-the-way universities, the do-it-yourself blogs, and the impotent think tanks where they began.

They were ignored in 2008 and they are ignored today because an extremely convenient corollary to the reigning dogma of the consensus reminds us that it is impossible to see a disaster of the 2008 variety coming. Of course, there were plenty of people who did see it coming, but this corollary defines their work away as a series of lucky guesses, dismisses their methodology as not worth listening to-all of which "we" can prove using equations.

"The main lesson we should take away from the E[fficient] M[arket] H[ypothesis] for policymaking purposes is the futility of trying to deal with crises and recessions by finding central bankers and regulators who can identify and puncture bubbles," announced Chicago school economist Robert Lucas from amid the ruins in 2009. "If these people exist, we will not be able to afford them."

And the main lesson we should take from the Efficient Market Hypothesis for OUR purposes is the utter futility of economics departments like the one that employs Robert Lucas.

A 2nd lesson: if economists-and journalists, and bankers, and bond analysts, and accountants-don't pay some price for egregious and repeated misrepresentations of reality, then markets aren't efficient after all. Either the gentlemen of the consensus must go, or their cherished hypothesis must be abandoned. The world isn't gullible enough to believe both of them any longer.

Or maybe it is. Maybe this state of affairs can go on for years. As you watch the anointed men of the Washington consensus shuttle through the CNN green room or relax comfortably at the $10,000 Halloween party the neighbors are throwing for their third grader, you begin to wonder what kind of blunder it will take to shatter this city's epic complacency, its dazzling confidence in its own stupidity.

We will assuredly find out soon. And when we do, we can be just as assured that the fools who let it happen will walk away once again without feeling any consequences. The Baffler No 19 - Frank
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