From the author of Aftershock and The Work of Nations, his most important book to date—a myth-shattering breakdown of how the economic system that helped make America so strong is now failing us, and what it will take to fix it.
Perhaps no one is better acquainted with the intersection of economics and politics than Robert B. Reich, and now he reveals how power and influence have created a new American oligarchy, a shrinking middle class, and the greatest income inequality and wealth disparity in eighty years. He makes clear how centrally problematic our veneration of the “free market” is, and how it has masked the power of moneyed interests to tilt the market to their benefit.
Reich exposes the falsehoods that have been bolstered by the corruption of our democracy by huge corporations and the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street: that all workers are paid what they’re “worth,” that a higher minimum wage equals fewer jobs, and that corporations must serve shareholders before employees. He shows that the critical choices ahead are not about the size of government but about who government is for: that we must choose not between a free market and “big” government but between a market organized for broadly based prosperity and one designed to deliver the most gains to the top. Ever the pragmatist, ever the optimist, Reich sees hope for reversing our slide toward inequality and diminished opportunity when we shore up the countervailing power of everyone else.
Passionate yet practical, sweeping yet exactingly argued, Saving Capitalism is a revelatory indictment of our economic status quo and an empowering call to civic action.
Reich (The Work of Nations), a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, has written an arresting, thought-provoking treatise on the need to reverse the trend of income inequality in the U.S. One of the book's central points is that the hot-button debate over whether the free market is more effective than government control is irrelevant, and directed at the wrong issue. In fact, Reich asserts, the "free" market is a myth, and the problem is not how big or small the government is it's who the government is there to serve. His solution is an "activist government" that will tax the affluent more, invest heavily in education and opportunities, and support the needy. In readily understandable language, Reich explores private property, bankruptcy, inflated Wall Street salaries, different definitions of freedom, the "rise of the working poor," and the decline of institutions such as unions that were once able to challenge economic elites. Reich's powerful final argument is that Americans need to rid themselves of the idea that it's too late to change their economy; the market is a human creation, not a fact of nature, and only humans can save it from what it's become.