[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]
James Galbraith’s Inequality and Instability updates and motivates two intertwined and core issues facing the world today. Professor Galbraith takes on the macroeconomy, economics profession, and the structural trends in the world economy. The work builds up analytics, reports outcomes, and suggests areas of future inquiry. The metrics and results are clearly presented, cogently argued, and made readily available to lay readers and professionals in the space. It would be difficult to imagine more essential subjects to modernize and re-energize than issues of growing inequity and endemic insecurity.
The early chapters, Chapters 1-4, introduce measures and measurements of inequities for individuals, households, families. There is a refreshing international breadth of scope. The field is defined and explored along structural lines. This is an important mark of differentiation in an area cluttered by narrow inquiries that do not apply well across geographies and demographics. Chapters 5-9 take the basic premise and observation on a whirlwind tour of the Americas, Europe, and China. This allows the structural approach to be applied to different political circumstances, social norms, and levels of economic development. It is courageous and valuable to stress test common assumptions regarding equality and democracy. A close look at the unique case of Cuba and the recent trends in Argentina and Brazil allow an exploration of some counterfactuals to the long term trends discussed.
The concluding chapter attempts to extrapolate the key message and value of Galbraith’s modernization and structuralization of issues of equity and stability. The financialization of inequality and the rise of instability are broadly and deeply explored in Inequality and Instability. This work will arm advocates of greater equality with broader and deeper understanding. This is invaluable given the size of the challenge and the urgency of issues explored.