The Price Of Inequality By Joseph E. Stiglitz

1790 words - 7 pages

America is one of the world’s largest and prosperous developed countries in the world, but take a closer look and you realize that the great United States of America has an alarmingly large amount of poverty. Where there once used to be an “American Dream” there now lies the cold hard truth, there is less and less opportunity every day and growing inequality every second. Joseph E. Stiglitz how America has turned into a country that would be unrecognizable to any of the founding fathers. In The Price of InequalityStiglitz visits this problem and searches for the source of the economic inequality that the United States is faced with today. Stiglitz came to the conclusion that America is declining and turning into a society like the one depicted in Orwell’s 1984 due to the ever present economic problems around not only the United States but the world as well.
George Orwell’s prediction for the society of the world in the year 1984 was one where information was kept from the people and that the people were fed lies by the government that citizens took to be their truths. An Orwellian society is one where the open, free, and democratic, to some extent, society is being threatened or destroyed. Stiglitz recognizes that a lot of critics believe that the society today is one that had a likeness to the one in the Orwell’s cautionary tale, 1984. The United States today is an Orwellian society in the respect that the government and the top 1% of the population shapes the perceptions of the society. Everyone knows that power is in numbers so in order for the top 1% to subdue the power of the majority of the nation is done through propaganda and methods of what is perceived as“brain washing” due to the malleability of the public perception. This portion of the population controls the information going out to the public which leads to some incorrect biased “facts” being seen by the public like, “a recent study said that the top fifth of the population had just short of 60% of the wealth, when in truth that group holds approximately 85 percent of the wealth,” (Stiglitz 184). That top portion manipulates the facts because they want the rest of America to believe that there is little inequality in the society. This causes a massive misunderstanding by the majority of the population where they underestimate the adverse economic effects of inequality and overestimate of the cost of taking action. There are also many misconceptions concerning the government which include the overestimate the ability of government to fix their inequality problems and the failure to understand what the government is doing to fix society’s problems. Despite the seemingly obvious facts, “only 42 percent of Americans believe that inequality has increased in the past ten years,” (Stiglitz 185) this believe is due to the optimism when it comes to social mobility, most Americans believe that there is a way to “cheat” or overcome the inequality. This idea that hope is necessary for a...

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