Thursday, October 8, 2015

Saving Capitalism - Robert B. Reich

My review of Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few by Robert Reich first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. It is one of--if not the most--important books I've read this year. It's relevant to every American, regardless of gender, religion, political affiliation, socio-economic status or anything else. You don't need to be an expert in economics, just a person who cares about their future. I hope you'll consider it.

First line: "Do you recall a time when the income of a single schoolteacher or baker or salesman or mechanic was enough to buy a home, have two cars, and raise a family?"

"We are all stakeholders in the American economy, and most stakeholders have not done particularly well," explains Robert Reich (Supercapitalism). In Saving Capitalism, Reich argues that the notion of a choice between free market and big government is inherently flawed and masks the true issues, thereby preventing the solutions that can help the majority of stakeholders.

Reich outlines the argument that markets depend on the design, organization and enforcement of rules governing property, monopoly, contracts and bankruptcy. In other words, markets rely on government for their existence. By disguising this fact in a meaningless partisan battle, large corporations, Wall Street and the extreme wealthy hide their ever-increasing influence on market decisions.

Reich points out that what these powerful entities are doing is neither corrupt nor irrational. However, they are working to undermine the system as a whole. When a continually growing number of people have fewer resources to invest and less power to incite change, the market cannot be sustained and will ultimately fail.

Saving Capitalism also offers potential solutions for reversing the downward spiral of the American economy. These solutions involve the stakeholders overcoming political divides and uniting their voices--as well as votes--in a common economic cause.

Accessible, well documented and passionately insightful, Saving Capitalism is likely to evoke strong emotions in readers, which is certainly what Reich sets out to do since he proclaims, "The only way back toward a democracy and economy that work for the majority is for the majority to become politically active once again, establishing a new countervailing power."

Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few
 is available in hardcover from Alfred A. Knopf (9780385350570) and as an unabridged audio download, narrated by Robert Reich, from Recorded Books.

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