Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future
A brilliant new reading of the economic crisis—and a plan for dealing with the challenge of its aftermath—by one of our most trenchant and informed experts.
When the nation’s economy foundered in 2008, blame was directed almost universally at Wall Street. But Robert B. Reich suggests a different reason for the meltdown, and for a perilous road ahead. He argues that the real...more
ok, I'm back.
First, a little background. I've always considered myself comfortably conservative, socially, economically, politically. But in my old(er) age (32 and a half or so) when I'm being brutally honest with myself, I'm finding more and more merit in what would have horrified a younger me - a *gasp* more liberal worldview. I'm not really what anyone would call bleeding heart, but the con...more
For instance, the country and even the government have confused the financial economy (Wall Street) with the Main Street economy, made up of a middle class that is facing a...more
This is a thoughtful and probing look at the contemporary U.S. economy that centers around wealth and income inequality. It is also a short history of Wall Street and how economics and politics are tied in the U.S.
As someone who is not well-versed in economics, I found this book straightforward and readable, but also repetitive. Reich returns to inequality again and again, but general...more
1. Real wages of middle class Americans have generally remained stagnant for decades while the super rich are taking home more and more.
2. Americans have coped with #1 in three ways: a) women entered the workforce; b) men and women have worked longer hours; and c) families have take on huge amounts of debt.
3. Workers are consumers. With the coping mechanisms from #2 gone, the...more
“Aftershock…” is the interesting concise book that deals with how our economy came to be, how we can learn from history and some specific ideas on how we can address these problems. This insightful 194-page book is broken out into three major parts: Part I. The Broken Bargain, Part II. Backlash, and Part III. The Bargain Restored.
1. Engaging, well-written, well-researched book that is accessible to the masses.
i liked his concept of the bargain the government has had with workers. but wall street views the workers as expendable. there has been a plan to undercut the ability of workers to bargain collectively over the last 30 years - since reagan fired the air traffic controllers in 1981.
i particularly like...more
Robert Reich should know something about government, public policy, money, and crises. He outlines the reasons why our current "recovery" will not be sufficient to bring back prosperity unless we reform aspects of our economic and political systems. His messages is compelling: increasing inequity causes recession, breaks down social cohesion, and threatens democracy. He points out the the greatest inequality in income through...more
Over the last thirty years or so, Reich argues that this basic bargain has gone away and that eviden...more
That's the whole book in a single paragraph. The first part is all about how the hell we got here, from before the Great Depression to the current day. The...more
First, for all of us, there's the fundamental problem of trying to balance money received and money spent. That issue applies to everyone, from kids buying penny candy to businesses and governments. Simplistic thinkers, including a good many Tea Party-type "fiscal conservatives"-tend to think that's all there is to it.
Most middle class people, however, also need to deal with interest rates on savings and loans, bank and card usage fees, discounts and fines—not...more
I commend Reich for highlighting the issue of declining middle class incomes and the problem this posses for long term economic growth. I also think he does a nice job of discussing the "coping mechanisms" Americans have pursued to address the problem.
Some of his ideas at the end of the book are interesting. B...more
The inequality of wealth in the United States will result in a stagnant economy and political turmoil by the year 2020, argues public-policy scholar and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich in Aftershock. Millions of deeply indebted Americans will embrace isolationism, reject both big government and big business, and sever America’s ties with the rest of the world, he predicts.
To illustrate the size and scope of this disaster, R...more
“Aftershock” by Robert B. Reich
Reviewed by Bill Breakstone, October 2, 2010
Robert B. Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He served as Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, and has written twelve books.
His most recent book, Aftershock, is both an economic and sociological treatise, brief in length but concise, penetrating and filled with, from this reviewer’s point of view, insightful commentary on our present...more
Keynesian economic theory is great - in theory: If the government intervenes to redistribute wealth, more people will have money, will spend that money, and thus stimulate the economy. Reich makes alot of sense laying out that the...more
Pre 1980 America was marked by very high tax rates on the wealthiest Am...more
He writes eloquently about how the main cause of the crisis is inequality and traces the historical precedents to the Great Recession. He also compares how the postwar years up to the mid 70s was a period of prosperity for the middle cla...more
Slim book about where we are really at and why - not the usual whining about those greedy financial people, though of course they are mentioned. The long-term problem in the US is really due to the wealth gap and the demise of the working and middle class.
My dad, not an economist, explained to me that this was why the Depression lasted so long - because most people could not afford to buy stuff which kept money out of circulation...more