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Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  3,357 ratings  ·  468 reviews
From the author of Aftershock and The Work of Nations, his most important book to date--a passionate yet practical, sweeping yet minutely argued, myth-shattering breakdown of what's wrong with our political-economic system, and what it will take to fix it.

Perhaps no one is better acquainted with the intersection of finance and politics than Robert B. Reich, and now he reve
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Hardcover, 219 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Knopf (first published 2004)
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Michael Perkins I've only seen short videos of Reich. Haven't read any of his books. Things are really polarized now. That was the explicit objective of the Russian…moreI've only seen short videos of Reich. Haven't read any of his books. Things are really polarized now. That was the explicit objective of the Russian fake news campaign. They didn't expect Trump to win, but Hillary. But their hope was the country would be so polarized that it would be paralyzed. It achieved that purpose. I have had no party affiliation for 25 years now and am a skeptic. The polarization on both ends seems obvious to me. You could probably look into the Hoover Institute for the other side.(less)

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Hadrian
Reich links the concentration of wealth at the top to their increasing political power, and therefore it is in their interest to maintain this system of affairs. Borrows heavily from J. K. Galbraith's idea of 'countervailing forces' to maintain a more stable form of democracy and market capitalism, including investment in human capital, unionization, and reform of legal loopholes. Like Atkinson, does not view inequality as the inevitable result of capitalism, but the deliberate result of misguid ...more
Mal Warwick
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
If you’ve ever been exposed to Robert Reich’s “Wealth and Poverty” course at UC Berkeley, perhaps through the film Inequality for All, or heard him speak in public, you know that there are few people alive today who are his equal in the ability to explain complex economic and social issues so cogently and compellingly. And few indeed are as funny as he is, either: the man could make a go of a career with a standup act.

capitalismHowever, there’s not a lot of humor in Saving Capitalism, Reich’s fi
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Caren
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
Reich's key point, and the one on which the rest of the book hangs, is that our political debate over preferring the "free market" on one hand to more government intervention on the other, is misguided: there is no disembodied market without rules made by government, that is, by humans. In our present culture, the rules strongly favor the people at the top---those with the most money---and that money buys power. He points out that this situation is not only not desirable but not sustainable in t ...more
R.K. Gold
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a really quick read for the liberal looking to impress their friends and win a few internet debates about economics. Far from perfect, it substitutes in-depth analysis for readable theory making it the perfect introduction to the material. What makes this book a five-star read is that it's applicable. It uses plenty of real-world examples, explains their faults, then offers theoretical suggestions for improvements.
If you need to whip out a quick argument for a certain relative during Th
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Bam
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Those who claim to be on the side of freedom while ignoring the growing imbalance of economic and political power in America and other advanced countries are not in fact on the side of freedom. They are on the side of those with the power."

It's no surprise to any American that the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. Name it and the deck is stacked in their favor: from political campaigns financed by Dark Money, to Wall Street with banks 'too big to fail' rescued by taxpayer money, to l
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Emma Sea
For the first 180 pages on why we're fucked, five stars. For the last 37 pages, which entirely fail to unpick how the hell we stop being fucked, 1 star.

Alexa
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
There is a beautifully clear simplicity to this. Reich’s straightforward analysis is simply a pleasure to read. He simultaneously offers us a chilling look at the market realities in force today and an inspiring view of what we can do to improve things. He is clear-sighted, persuasive, and ultimately inspiring. This is the book that made it clear to me why some people could simultaneously support Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

His thesis is that “the threat to capitalism is no longer communism
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Miles
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
In 1922, American philosopher John Dewey published Human Nature and Conduct, wherein he elucidated the relationship between freedom and knowledge. “The road to freedom,” he wrote, “may be found in that knowledge of facts which enables us to employ them in connection with desires and aims” (303). Dewey understood that human liberty and progress are always dependent on actionable assessments of present conditions. Without good information, the possibility of freedom evaporates.

Nearly a century lat
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Ryan Boissonneault
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is a critically important book for a few reasons.

First, it exposes the meaninglessness of the “free market” vs. government intervention debate by showing that the market cannot exist in the first place without the laws, rules, contracts, and enforcement mechanisms that government creates. The relevant debate, therefore, is not “less government” or “more regulation” but who exactly stands to benefit or lose under the current arrangements.

The free market simply doesn’t exist; government and b
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Rahul Holani
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Took a little bit of time to finish but glad I did. Belonging to the middle class family (general category) of a developing nation I understand it very well how me and my family and billion other people wishes and decisions are everyday moulded by our stagnated and tumbling financial situation, not what we really wish to have at all most every point be it the necessities, higher education , lifestyle , entertainment etc . Although the book is written from American perspective and its society , t ...more
Crystal Starr Light
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Crystal Starr Light by: Iset
Bullet Review:

Absolutely fascinating - I learned so much about the US's economy, it's history, as well as how Donald Trump got elected. I think Robert B. Reich makes a fantastic audiobook narrator. And sure, this is "Economics Lite for People with Short Attention Spans", but it certainly gave ME a better appreciation for what's going on - and why siding with one party or the other isn't good.

Some people may wonder if this is a hippy dippy liberal book, and I really don't get that feeling whatsoe
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Matt Messinger
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books I read because I enjoy reading authors with whom I agree. That said, I’d be curious to see a data-based refutation of what Reich argues; I think his argument would hold up under objective scrutiny.

In short, Reich’s thesis is the “free market” vs. “big government” debate is a distraction. The Invisible Hand of Adam Smith does not exist. In fact humans create the “market” via contracts, laws and policies. Those people with the most money define these components of the m
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Cissa
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an important and thorough look at the economic aspect of what is wrong in America today- and since many of our other ills spring from the economics, it speaks to areas not explicitly addressed as well.

If you are at all interested in how we got into this mess- and some similar historical situations- read this.

In brief: it is not the "free market" vs the "government"; the market would not even exist without the legal enforcement of the government. The problem is that as wealth is accumulat
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Kressel Housman
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Regular viewers of Robert Reich’s “Resistance Report” will find the arguments in this book very familiar, but it was written before the 2016 election, which only goes to prove how prescient Robert Reich is. He argues that because of the anti-regulatory business environment that has taken hold since the 1980’s, the influence of money in politics, made all the worse by Citizens United, and the automation and disappearance of more and more of our jobs, the American capitalist system has become so t ...more
Chris
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Reich's book goes a long way in helping to make sense of the current economic state of our country. The wage gap between the lowest earners and highest earners in this country has been increasing over the last few decades and the middle class is slowly shrinking. Reich explains some of the factors that have caused this to occur. In the last 30 years, corporations have gained more and more political influence which, at this stage of the game, is drowning out the voices of individual voters and th ...more
Eli Mandel
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
After casting the winning vote for Bush in Ohio (I'm sorry, America) and then voting for McCain (I'm really sorry, America) I started warming up to liberal policies during the Obamacare debate.
Sure, I had college debt and I had read Generation Debt (which I had discovered while listening to Brian Lehrer, so I'm not entirely a rube) and I finally had a job that provided health insurance, but even with my wife and I both working full-time we were still struggling. I could never see earning enough
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Book Riot Community
Reich explains how political changes in the last three decades is accelerating wealth inequality. This is a book that any Bernie Sanders supporter would love. Reich is a great explainer, and entertaining writer. This is not dry economics. Anyone hoping to save the middle class will want to read Reich’s ideas about how to save capitalism.

— James Wallace Harris


from The Best Books We Read In July 2016: http://bookriot.com/2016/08/01/riot-r...
Hana
"There are two modes of invading private property; the first, by which the poor plunder the rich...sudden and violent; the second, by which the rich plunder the poor, slow and legal" --- John Taylor, And Inquiry into the Principles and Policy of the Government of the United States (1814)

I love the quote with which Reich opens his book!

New font is killing my eyes.
Laura
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This was a fascinating look at the current state of economics in the US. Robert Reich is clearly experience and knowledgable, I'm just not as hopeful as he that we can find the will as a nation to do the right things to save ourselves.
Jessica
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It's really preaching to the Liberal choir, but this is definitely one I wish more people would read. This book truly puts into clear perspective what is wrong with our political and economic system today, and could inspire revolution if only more of the 99% would tune in.
Athan Tolis
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Capitalism most definitely is at a crossroads. To claim otherwise is, at best, denial.

What’s more worrying is that that there is next to no debate on the relevant issues.

I disagree with, dunno, four out of five conclusions Robert Reich draws in “Saving Capitalism,” but it is regardless the best book I’ve read in years because it defines the terms of the debate.

You read that right. I consider this left-wing book by a former Clinton (wash my mouth) Labor Secretary one of the best I can remember re
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David Sasaki
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It was doubly frustrating to read a book of such sensible policy analysis during an election season that is practically devoid of any discussion of real policies and their effects on real people.

Saving Capitalism -- a dramatic title for a book that otherwise mostly avoids hyperbole -- begins with the premise that we must drop the typical way we frame liberalism and conservatism as big government versus small government. Ostensibly, Reich wants to appeal to both Bernie supporters and the Tea Par
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Andrew Worsley
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wake up call. Disturbing but highly motivating
Alan Johnson
Mimi's review of Robert Reich's Saving Capitalism provides an excellent summary of the book. The present review focuses on Chapter 23 (the penultimate chapter) of the book, in which Reich sets forth what appears to be his most radical proposal for alleviating the long-term trend of replacing employees by automation. Ironically, Reich, a progressive, here supports a recommendation of the famous conservative-libertarian economist Friedreich von Hayek:

"Countervailing power would . . . use the proc
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Mack Hayden
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm skeptical of big business, big corporations, big banks *and* big government in about equal measure. Any remedy to the corporate oligarchy in which we find ourselves, in my opinion, has to recognize that ceding corporate power into the hands of an equally powerful state is playing with fire. Reich does a great job of laying out how we can critique and correct capitalism without throwing the baby out with the bath water. He thinks self-interest and innovation drives economies, incentivizing pr ...more
Jim
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Robert Reich concisely summarizes what's been happening with capitalism in the last few decades, showing how special interests have corrupted the system, and suggesting ways to fix it. This is one of those books everyone should read before November 8th. And it's a book that explains why Bernie Sander's campaign has drawn so many supporters. Wall Street, through its influence in Congress, is tweaking the system in their favor, and thus altering the way Americans live. Reich explains why corporati ...more
Kurtbg
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone interested in what has been happening in the US as the ties of business and politics have been compromised with replacing the individual vote with dollars as the coin of power in a failing democracy.

The book provided a good definition of how the economy runs, how markets are created and how rules and regulations purpose is to create a fair but still rewarding system that balances power, security and fairness. When those rules and regulations are compromised and with partis
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Mehrsa
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Because this is my field, there was nothing in here that I didn't already know, but this is a must-read for all Americans. Reich has a gift for clear thinking and exposition. I found a few of his assertions to be overreaching and the book is certainly more polemic than history or theory, but it is an accurate condemnation of our current political system. Though Reich's analysis reveals a grim reality, his predictions are optimistic. Americans will lead the way for reform as they have done in the ...more
Alejandro Maza
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Part 1: *****
Part 2: ****
Part 3: ***

Really enjoyed the economic arguments. Tough to see that the trends he warns about ended up in Trump being elected. Would have enjoyed a global perspective for the second and third parts.
Hal
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Debates a very important issue in today's economic and political era. Sometimes draws some tenuous conclusions but at least it is an attempt to resolve some very important issues that most people don't even realise exist.
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Robert Bernard Reich is an American politician, academic, and political commentator. He served as Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997. Reich is a former Harvard University professor and the former Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He is currently a professor at the Un ...more
“The idea of a “free market” separate and distinct from government has functioned as a useful cover for those who do not want the market mechanism fully exposed. They have had the most influence over it and would rather keep it that way. The mythology is useful precisely because it hides their power.” 8 likes
“Government doesn’t “intrude” on the “free market.” It creates the market. The rules are neither neutral nor universal, and they are not permanent. Different societies at different times have adopted different versions. The rules partly mirror a society’s evolving norms and values but also reflect who in society has the most power to make or influence them.” 3 likes
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