Although Joseph Stiglitz has a reputation as one of the most prominent defenders of big government, I found much to agree with in his book, The Price of Inequality.
Summary Of ' Rent Seeking And The Making Of An Unequal Society ' By Robert Thurman
It does appear to me that throughout the political spectrum, from left to right, there is a substantial consensus that government is the cause of many of the problems people perceive. The disagreement is over how to solve those problems. Stiglitz sees many negative consequences from income and wealth inequality, and while I would question whether these negative consequences are as substantial as Stiglitz says, we both agree on the negative impact that government policy has in our society.
Joseph Stiglitz: The Price of Inequality - The New School
Both Stiglitz and Stockman argue that cronyism is damaging both our economic system and our democratic political system. Stiglitz pp. Economists have a name for these activities; they call them rent seeking, getting income not as a reward to creating wealth but by grabbing a larger share of the wealth that would have otherwise been produced without their effort.
Talking about the lawyers and accountants who work for rent seekers, Stiglitz p. Stiglitz p.
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Criticizing the cronyism between business and government, Stiglitz p. When the wealthiest use their political power to benefit excessively the corporations they control, much-needed revenues are diverted into the pockets of a few instead of benefiting society at large. I read Stiglitz to be saying that big government and the cronyism that comes with it is the cause of most of the problems he cites.
A government that taxes less, spends less, and regulates less, offers fewer oppotunities for cronyism.
Alas, Stiglitz sees the solution as more government: higher taxes, more effective redistribution programs, and more effective regulation. Stiglitz has explained how the rich gain control of the political process and use it for their benefit, so the idea that more government can solve these problems that are created by government in the first place seems to be nothing more than wishful thinking.
I am encouraged to see that people throughout the political spectrum, from Stiglitz to Stockman to Schweizer , recognize government power as the source of many of our contemporary problems.
Those on the left see more government, and better government, as the remedy to poor government policies, which seems counter-intuitive. Why would we think a bigger government would work better than the government mess we already have?
Stiglitz has already explained how all the incentives lean toward making government more responsive to the elite, at the expense of the masses. But if we agree that government has caused many of the problems we all see—all of us from the political left to right—then we are part-way toward finding a solution that we all agree would fix those problems.
My thought is: eliminate what we all agree is the cause.
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