Nobel Laureate Dr. Joseph Stiglitz discusses income inequality, inequality of opportunity at annual Bloustein lecture

October 29, 2015

stiglitzOn Monday, October 19 Dr. Joseph Stiglitz , Nobel laureate in economics and University Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, presented the annual Ruth Ellen Steinman and Edward J. Bloustein Memorial Lecture to a full house at the Bloustein School’s Governor James J. Florio Special Events Forum. The talk, based on his book The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them, considered the basis for much of the inequality existing in the United States, and what can be done about it.

Using data from the past century, Dr. Stiglitz showed how the inequality gap has widened in the U.S. He emphasized that income has risen in the United States since World War II so that as a nation we have been getting richer; however, the distribution of that wealth has become increasingly unequal, and the lack of access to health care and post-secondary education has increased the magnitude of inequality in the United States in 2015.

A substantial portion of the lecture was also focused on the inequality of opportunity in contemporary America. Dr. Stiglitz noted that inequality in America now extends to chasms in health care, the access to justice, and fair working hours for many Americans. New class barriers have been erected over the past several decades even as society has worked to break down racial, ethnic and gender barriers. All of these facts, Dr. Stiglitz argued, show that the American Dream has become a myth.

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