SOCIAL SCIENCES

Trade Wars Are Class Wars: How Rising Inequality Distorts the Global Economy and Threatens International Peace

Yale. May 2020. 288p. ISBN 9780300244175. $28. BUS
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Klein (economics commentator, Barron’s) and Pettis (finance, Peking Univ.) demonstrate worldwide effects of the ever-growing wealth inequality within nations and between trading partners. In China, Europe, and many other places workers are extremely productive and very badly paid. Low wage workers cannot afford to buy the products and services they create. Nations deliberately keep wages low, promote rapid and uncontrolled movement of capital, and desperately seek new markets abroad for products unconsumed at home. Klein and Pettis argue that restoration of the post-war social compact tying productivity to rising incomes, relaxation of the toxic fear of government deficits, and Keynesian stimulation of national and international economies will reduce income disparities, raise living standards, and produce peaceful trade. In short, globalist policies have failed. This work explains the self-destructive nature of neo-liberal economic theory which produces regular economic crises both within countries and globally.
VERDICT Readers interested in current events, students unaware of ideas that challenge capitalist orthodoxy, and scholars searching for the causes of planetary inequality will all benefit from this book.

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