Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future

Robert B. Reich, Author
Robert Reich, Knopf, $25 (192p) ISBN 978-0-307-59281-1
Open Ebook - 116 pages - 978-0-307-59452-5
Hardcover - 265 pages - 978-1-4104-3412-8
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-307-47633-3
Show other formats
FORMATS
Reich (Supercapitalism), secretary of labor under Bill Clinton and former economic adviser to President Obama, argues that Obama's stimulus package will not catalyze real recovery because it fails to address 40 years of increasing income inequality. The lessons are in the roots of and responses to the Great Depression, according to Reich, who compares the speculation frenzies of the 1920s–1930s with present-day ones, while showing how Keynesian forerunners like FDR's Federal Reserve Board chair, Marriner Eccles, diagnosed wealth disparity as the leading stress leading up to the Depression. By contrast, sharing the gains of an expanding economy with the middle class brought unprecedented prosperity in the postwar decades, as the majority of workers earned enough to buy what they produced. Despite occasional muddled analyses (of the offshoring of industrial production in the 1990s, for example), Reich's thesis is well argued and frighteningly plausible: without a return to the "basic bargain" (that workers are also consumers), the "aftershock" of the Great Recession includes 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. (Oct.)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X