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Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do about It

Heather Boushey



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Harvard Uni.Press Academi
25 October 2019
Economics & Business; Economic theory & philosophy; Political economy; Economic systems & structures; Business ethics; Entrepreneurship
From one of Washington's most influential voices on economic policy, a lively and original argument that reducing inequality is not just fair but also key to delivering broadly shared economic growth and stability. Do we have to choose between equality and prosperity? Many think that reducing economic inequality would require such heavy-handed interference with market forces that it would stifle economic growth. Heather Boushey, one of Washington's most influential economic voices, insists nothing could be further from the truth. Presenting cutting-edge economics with journalistic verve, she shows how rising inequality has become a drag on growth and an impediment to a competitive United States marketplace for employers and employees alike. Boushey argues that inequality undermines growth in three ways. It obstructs the supply of talent, ideas, and capital as wealthy families monopolize the best educational, social, and economic opportunities. It also subverts private competition and public investment. Powerful corporations muscle competitors out of business, in the process costing consumers, suppressing wages, and hobbling innovation, while governments underfund key public goods that make the American Dream possible, from schools to transportation infrastructure to information and communication technology networks. Finally, it distorts consumer demand as stagnant wages and meager workplace benefits rob ordinary people of buying power and pushes the economy toward financial instability. Boushey makes this case with a clear, accessible tour of the best of contemporary economic research, while also injecting a passion for her subject gained through years of research into the economics of work?life conflict and policy work in the trenches of federal government. Unbound exposes deep problems in the U.S. economy, but its conclusion is optimistic. We can preserve the best of our nation's economic and political traditions, and improve on them, by pursuing policies that reduce inequality?and by doing so, boost broadly shared economic growth.
By:   Heather Boushey
Imprint:   Harvard Uni.Press Academi
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 156mm, 
ISBN:   9780674919310
ISBN 10:   0674919319
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   25 October 2019
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Heather Boushey is President and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and former Chief Economist on Hillary Clinton's transition team. She is the author of Finding Time: The Economics of Work-Life Conflict and coeditor of After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality (both from Harvard). The New York Times has called Boushey one of the most vibrant voices in the field and Politico twice named her one of the top 50 thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics.

Reviews for Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do about It

A timely and very useful guide...Boushey assimilates a great deal of recent economic research and argues that it amounts to a paradigm shift.--New Yorker (10/22/2019) Copies of this book should be mailed to every legislator in the country. It is a powerful summary of an enormous amount of the latest and best economics research on inequality, presented clearly and explained with accessible prose.--Suresh Naidu, Columbia University A comprehensive and bracing view of how a new generation of economists are rethinking one of the most fundamental social problems facing societies around the world: inequality. Heather Boushey offers a road map for policies that can lead to a more equitable and just society and underscores the need for bold thinking on political economy.--David Weil, Dean and Professor, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University Offer[s] up an almost encyclopedic rendition of inequality's impact on the U.S. economy...The depth of evidence that Boushey compiles is extremely impressive.-- (11/12/2019) Piercing.--Richard Eisenberg Next Avenue (10/16/2019) For a long time, the argument over inequality was about whether it was the price that had to be paid for a dynamic economy. In this outstanding book, Heather Boushey...turns this upside down. She shows that, beyond a point, inequality damages the economy by limiting the quantity and quality of human capital and skills, blocking access to opportunity, underfunding public services, facilitating predatory rent-seeking, weakening aggregate demand and increasing reliance on unsustainable credit.-- (12/03/2019) From one of Washington's most influential voices on economic...a lively and original argument that reducing inequality is not only fair but also key to delivering broadly shared economic growth and stability.--Beth Kanter Omidyar Network (12/05/2019) Think rising levels of inequality are just an inevitable outcome of our market-driven economy? Then you should read Boushey's well-argued, well-documented explanation of why you're wrong.--David Rotman MIT Technology Review (12/23/2019) Lays out a powerful argument on how inequality harms growth, competition, and innovation.--ProMarket (12/20/2019) There is a strange gap: a discipline like economics, which aims at achieving the greatest good for the greatest number, ought to have long ago focused on how costly inequality is for all--or almost all--of us. But no. Now, Boushey's Unbound expertly fills that gap.--J. Bradford DeLong, University of California, Berkeley A rising tide used to lift all boats, but decades of rising economic inequality and wage stagnation have changed that. In Unbound Heather Boushey provides a clear and compelling analysis of the many ways income and wealth inequality limits our economic potential, drawing important lessons from cutting-edge economic research. An invaluable addition to current economic policy debates, Unbound is a must-read for those striving for inclusive economic growth.--Kimberly Clausing, author of Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital In Unbound Heather Boushey presents the strongest documentation I have seen for the many ways in which inequality is harmful to economic growth. Anyone interested in just about any aspect of economic policy, from education to antitrust to macroeconomics, will learn something from this important book.--Jason Furman, former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers

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