Synopses & Reviews
A brilliant new reading of the economic crisisand a plan for dealing with the challenge of its aftermathby one of our most trenchant and informed experts.
When the nations 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 topindeed, when the top 1 percent of the population was paid 23 percent of the nations incomewas in 1928, just before the Great Depression. Such a disparity leads to ever greater booms followed by ever deeper busts.
Reichs 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.
Reichs 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 Americas economy and rebuilding our society.
From the Hardcover edition.
Updated for paperback publication, Aftershock
is a brilliant reading of the causes of our current economic crisis, with a plan for dealing with its challenging aftermath.
When the nation’s economy foundered in 2008, blame was directed almost universally at Wall Street bankers. But Robert B. Reich, one of our most experienced and trusted voices on public policy, suggests another reason for the meltdown. Our real problem, he argues, lies in the increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of the richest Americans, while stagnant wages and rising costs have forced the middle class to go deep into debt. Reich’s thoughtful and detailed account of where we are headed over the next decades—and how we can fix our economic system—is a practical, humane, and much-needed blueprint for restoring America’s economy and rebuilding our society.
An economist at Berkeley looks at the major shifts taking place in the U.S. economy and reveals the surprising winners and losersand#8212;specifically, which kinds of jobs will drive economic growth and where theyand#8217;ll be locatedand#8212;while exploring how communities can transform themselves into dynamic innovation hubs.
andquot;A persuasive look at why some U.S. cities have prospered in recent decades while others have declined.andquot;andmdash;Bloomberg Businessweek
Weandrsquo;re used to thinking of the United States in opposing terms: red versus blue, haves versus have-nots. But today there are three Americas. At one extreme are the brain hubsandmdash;cities like San Francisco, Boston, and Durhamandmdash;with workers who are among the most productive, creative, and best paid on the planet. At the other extreme are former manufacturing capitals, which are rapidly losing jobs and residents. The rest of America could go either way. For the past thirty years, the three Americas have been growing apart at an accelerating rate. This divergence is one the most important developments in the history of the United States and is reshaping the very fabric of our society, affecting all aspects of our lives, from health and education to family stability and political engagement. But the winners and losers arenandrsquo;t necessarily who youandrsquo;d expect.
Enrico Morettiandrsquo;s groundbreaking research shows that you donandrsquo;t have to be a scientist or an engineer to thrive in one of the brain hubs. Carpenters, taxi-drivers, teachers, nurses, and other local service jobs are created at a ratio of five-to-one in the brain hubs, raising salaries and standard of living for all. Dealing with this splitandmdash;supporting growth in the hubs while arresting the decline elsewhereandmdash;is the challenge of the century, and The New Geography of Jobs lights the way.
andquot;Moretti has written a clear and insightful account of the economic forces that are shaping America and its regions, and he rightly celebrates human capital and innovation as the fundamental sources of economic development.andquot;andmdash;Jonathan Rothwell, The Brookings Institution
About the Author
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, including The Work of Nations, which has been translated into twenty-two languages, and the best seller Supercapitalism. His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He is also cofounding editor of The American Prospect magazine and provides weekly commentaries on public radio’s Marketplace. He lives in Berkeley and blogs at www.robertreich.org.
Table of Contents
and#160;2.and#160;Smart Labor: Microchips, Movies, and Multipliersand#8195;45
and#160;3.and#160;The Great Divergenceand#8195;73
and#160;4.and#160;Forces of Attractionand#8195;121
and#160;5.and#160;The Inequality of Mobility and Cost of Livingand#8195;154
and#160;6.and#160;Poverty Traps and Sexy Citiesand#8195;178
and#160;7.and#160;The New and#8220;Human Capital Centuryand#8221;and#8195;215