'This book will challenge you to rethink some of your assumptions about democracy, capitalism, and globalization.' - Adam Grant
Huge corporations are acting like nations, global wealth is going to billionaires and ordinary people are suffering. It's set to be a rocky decade - but we can fix it.
As the market consolidates under fewer and larger companies, it's increasingly in the interest of private companies to behave like nations. And when the government is bogged down in bureaucratic negotiations and culture wars, people begin to look to nimble, powerful companies to solve society's problems - and to be our moral standard-bearers. It shouldn't be like this.
New York Times bestselling author Alec Ross weaves interviews with the world's most influential thinkers with fascinating stories of corporate activism and malfeasance, government failure and renewal, and innovative economic and political models being implemented around the world, to propose a new social contract - one that benefits workers and everyday citizens in the face of unprecedented global change.
The social contract functions best when the relationship between government, citizens, and private companies sits in balance and that balance has been thrown way off, according to this trenchant survey. Former Obama adviser Ross (The Industries of the Future) writes that the rights and responsibilities of individuals need to be rebalanced with those of states and corporations because globalization, deregulation, and the climate crisis have changed the state of the world, and things are only getting worse as inequality grows. Ross describes the chilling effects of "shareholder capitalism," which prioritizes shareholder profit over all other goals, as well as what can happen when private companies step in when the government fails or falters as when Walmart proved that "major retailers can use their leverage to force a product off the shelves much faster than the government can" when it began pushing eco-friendly products in 2007. Things could get better, Ross writes, by 2030, and to that end he suggests reforms including a four-day workweek, reasonable social safety nets, and fair compensation. But, he warns, "if nothing changes, rage will be the defining quality of the 2020s." This disquieting look is a must-read for anyone looking to understand the present moment.