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Joseph Stiglitz on Inequality Differences Between Countries

By Morgan Housel - May 5, 2013 at 8:45AM

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Same laws of economics, different outcomes.

I recently sat down with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz in his office at Columbia Business School.

In this clip, Stiglitz discusses how income inequality differences around the globe suggest that policy has a big impact on outcomes.

Note: Not everyone will agree with Stiglitz's views. That's OK! You don't have to agree with something to gain perspective into people's thought processes.

Have a look. (A transcript follows.)

Joseph Stiglitz: Well, one way of looking at that issue is to look around the world. Economic forces are the same. Both sides of the Atlantic, both sides of the Pacific, there are the same economic forces. The way they play out is very different. So the United States has much more inequality than any of the other advanced industrial countries, and that says it's not just economic forces. It's not just globalization. Very open economy, like the countries of Scandinavia, more open in many ways than the United States, have much less inequality. To me that says it's how we make the rules of the game. Tax laws, our education system, how we run our economic system is really to blame for the high level of inequality in the United States.

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