Many fear that efforts to address inequality will undermine the economy as a whole. But Boushey thinks the opposite is true—that rising inequality has become a drag on growth and an impediment to market competition—and she argues that it is possible to preserve the nation's economic traditions while promoting shared economic growth.
Ms Boushey frames her proposals as ways to reduce inequality while also aiding economic growth ... This two-sided argument is persuasive, but is also an acknowledgment that the power to implement change rests with the winners ... Convincing the well-off of the benefits of a less lopsided society may be necessary to remedy it. And perhaps, by couching their manifestos as a means to boost growth, and by reminding the rich that Americans are in it together, thinkers like Ms Boushey could begin to re-establish a lost sense of solidarity.
... a timely and very useful guide to some of the new developments. In her book Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do About It, Boushey assimilates a great deal of recent economic research and argues that it amounts to a paradigm shift ... Boushey provides a wealth of evidence that rising inequality is having precisely [negative effects ... During the twentieth century, a determined effort was made to reconstruct economics on the basis of rationality and scientific methods, with all value judgments excised. All too often, however, this project translated into a naïve faith in the market, and a deliberate neglect of the underlying factors that bias economic outcomes, such as history, geography, class, culture, race, gender, and access to political power. In many areas of the subject, economists are now trying to reintegrate these factors into the analysis. Reading Unbound is a good way to get an update on their progress.
Before diving into the book’s arguments, we need to look at Boushey’s tendency to either strawman other points of view, or at least judge them by unfair standards. It is difficult to know where to start here because she manages to do it so often, on large and small matters ... So much writing on inequality involves citing an array of statistics with frustrated incredulity. We are too seldom offered a standard by which to evaluate what exactly is too much inequality (a term, which taken on its own, is quite nebulous). Boushey’s book is an attempt to grapple with this, which we should welcome, but its issues start to overshadow any merit in the arguments ... not only does Boushey’s book...suffer from straw-manning other points of view, the individual 'not embedded in the economics community' would walk away with a distorted view of the economics profession (past and present) and thinking the point was entirely settled. In other words, the defining feature of this gimmick is that the author takes the reader on a journey to solve a problem, a journey that was only ever going to go in one direction and end one way.