The Road to Freedom: Economics and the Good Society (Hardcover)

The Road to Freedom: Economics and the Good Society By Joseph E. Stiglitz Cover Image

The Road to Freedom: Economics and the Good Society (Hardcover)

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From one of the world’s leading economists, a compelling new vision of personal and economic freedom.


We are a nation born from the conviction that people must be free. But since the middle of the last century, that idea has been co-opted. Forces on the political Right have justified exploitation by cloaking it in the rhetoric of freedom, leading to pharmaceutical companies freely overcharging for medication, a Big Tech free from oversight, politicians free to incite rebellion, corporations free to pollute, and more. How did we get here? Whose freedom are we—and should we—be thinking about?


In The Road to Freedom, Nobel prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz dissects America’s current economic system and the political ideology that created it, laying bare their twinned failure. “Free” and unfettered markets have only succeeded in delivering a series of crises: the financial crisis, the opioid crisis, and the crisis of inequality. While a small portion of the population has amassed considerable wealth, wages for most people have stagnated. Free and unfettered markets have exploited consumers, workers, and the environment alike. Such failures have fed populist movements that believe being free means abandoning any obligations citizens have to one another. As they grow in strength, these movements now pose a real threat to true economic and political freedom.


As an economic advisor to presidents and as chief economist at the World Bank, Stiglitz has witnessed these profound changes firsthand. As he argues, the failures follow from the elites’ unshakeable dedication to “the neoliberal experiment.” Explicitly taking on giants such as Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, Stiglitz exposes accepted ideas about our political and economic life for what they are: twisted visions that tear at the social fabric while they enrich the very few.


The Road to Freedom breaks new ground, showing how economics—including recent advances in which Stiglitz has played such an important role—reframes how to think about freedom and the role of the state in a twenty-first century society. Drawing on the work of contemporary philosophers, Stiglitz explains a deeper, more humane way to assess freedoms—one that considers with care what to do when one person’s freedom conflicts with another’s. We must reimagine our existing economic and legal systems and embrace forms of collective action, including regulation and investment, if we are to create an innovative society in which everyone can flourish. The task could not be more urgent, and Stiglitz’s latest book is essential reading for those committed to the American ideal of an economic and political system that delivers well-being, opportunity, and meaningful freedoms for all.



Joseph E. Stiglitz is a Nobel Prize–winning economist and the best-selling author of People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent; Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited: Anti-Globalization in the Age of Trump; The Price of Inequality; and Freefall. He was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton, chief economist of the World Bank, named by Time as one of the 100 most influential individuals in the world, and now teaches at Columbia University and is chief economist of the Roosevelt Institute.

Product Details ISBN: 9781324074373
ISBN-10: 132407437X
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2024
Pages: 384
Language: English
A solid case for a progressive capitalism based on cooperation for the common good. 
— Kirkus