Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future

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Alfred A. Knopf, 2010 - Business & Economics - 174 pages
24 Reviews
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 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.Aftershockis a practical, humane, and much-needed blueprint for both restoring America’s economy and rebuilding our society.

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Review: Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future

User Review  - Loren - Goodreads

The politically liberal democratic capitalist seems to think that a certain level of social inequality can be tolerated. That it is simply a matter of begining the discussion as to the range of wealth ... Read full review

Review: Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future

User Review  - Rob Billingsley - Goodreads

Robert Reich, who held many positions in US presidential administrations from President Gerald Ford through President Bill Clinton, starts with a description of Marriner Eccles' disappointment in the ... Read full review

About the author (2010)

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, includingThe Work of Nations,which has been translated into twenty-two languages, and the best sellerSupercapitalism. His articles have appeared inThe New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post,andThe Wall Street Journal.He is also cofounding editor ofThe American Prospectmagazine and provides weekly commentaries on public radio’sMarketplace.He lives in Berkeley and blogs at

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