Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future
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 problem is structural: it lies in the increasing concentration of income and wealth at the top, and in a middle class that has had to go deeply into debt to maintain a decent standard of living.
Persuasively and straightforwardly, Reich reveals how precarious our situation still is. The last time in American history when wealth was so highly concentrated at the top--indeed, when the top 1 percent of the population was paid 23 percent of the nation's income--was in 1928, just before the Great Depression. Such a disparity leads to ever greater booms followed by ever deeper busts.
Reich's thoughtful and detailed account of where we are headed over the next decades reveals the essential truth about our economy that is driving our politics and shaping our future. With keen insight, he shows us how the middle class lacks enough purchasing power to buy what the economy can produce and has adopted coping mechanisms that have a negative impact on their quality of life; how the rich use their increasing wealth to speculate; and how an angrier politics emerges as more Americans conclude that the game is rigged for the benefit of a few. Unless this trend is reversed, the Great Recession will only be repeated.
Reich's assessment of what must be done to reverse course and ensure that prosperity is widely shared represents the path to a necessary and long-overdue transformation. "Aftershock" is a practical, humane, and much-needed blueprint for both restoring America's economy and rebuilding our society.
Praise for Robert B. Reich's "Inequality for All
"Important and well executed. . . . Reich is fluent, fearless, even amusing."
--"The New York Times Book Review"
"Reich provides a thoughtful dialogue about the structural problems that led to the recent recession. . . . His ideas are worth exploring."
--"The Washington Post"
"[Reich] suggests a number of innovative ways to reverse the trend toward greater inequality and usher in another, more hopeful phase in American history."
--"The Charlotte Observer"
"One of the clearest explanations to date of . . . how the United States went from . . . 'the Great Prosperity' of 1947 to 1975 to the Great Recession."
--Bob Herbert, "The New York Times"
"All Americans will benefit from reading this insightful, timely book."
"Lucid and cogent."
"Well argued and frighteningly plausible: without a return to the 'basic bargain' (that workers are also consumers), the 'aftershock' of the Great Recession includes a long-term high unemployment and a political backlash--a crisis, he notes with a sort of grim optimism, that just might be painful enough to encourage necessary structural reforms."
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|Publisher||Alfred A. Knopf|
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Product Identifiers9780345807229 — Paperback
9780307592811 — Hardcover