Of the many issues facing modern liberal democracies, economic inequality, also known as the problem of the “wealth gap”, is undoubtedly one of the most challenging. Although many cite Western countries like the United States as “lands of opportunity”, that claim is becoming less credible when, as Oxfam reports, the world’s one percent are getting to the point where they hold more wealth than the remaining 99 percent combined. Such inequality might be productive for small, extremely moneyed classes, but for the overwhelming majority of the populous, such wealth disparity is a meaningful roadblock to class mobility.
It’s this vexing issue that Nobel Prize winning (2001) economist and Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz tackles in his newest volume, The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them. In the video below, Stiglitz visits the independent Washington D.C. bookstore Politics and Prose to talk about his findings, and how, per the book’s title, we could go about remediating the problems of inequality.