The Progressive Struggle to Save Capitalism

Boone Shear and Stephen Healy, Truthout | Op-Ed

Regulation and reform might eventually manifest a kinder, gentler capitalism, but we've seen how hard it is to regulate the very people who have the most money and incentive to change the rules back in their favor. What if instead, we came together to build an economy entirely different from the one we know now?

In his most recent book, The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz incisively details the policies and practices underpinning the extreme levels of inequality in the United States today. In doing so, he provides a rationalist foothold for progressive politics. In Stiglitz's view, social and economic policies that might redistribute wealth through regulation, taxation and social welfare programs are not simply the right thing to do, they are good for the overall health of the economy. There is a great temptation amongst progressives interested in social and economic justice to leap on this cunning display of Nobel reasoning - to see in it a pragmatic argument that advances our moral commitments. While we can certainly learn from Stiglitz's masterful analysis of the problem, succumbing to this appealing logic of reform would be a misstep for those of us who are interested in broader visions of a just or sustainable economy.

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