Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
Aftershock: The Next Economy explains why the current economic system is unsustainable. I think everybody with any interest with the question of where the economy is going has to read this. Some parts are shocking, but it isn't all doom and gloom. This audiobook explains the problem, the possible consequences and some potential solutions to avert them.
In an eloquent, wonderfully pleasant, soft, disarmingly convincing voice Robert Reich takes us through the looking glass into a world where fantasy is fact, black is white and white is black. As if it is not enough to fall through the looking glass, Reich delivers us into a world filled with mirrors where there is no way to tell what is real and what is an illusion. In Orwellian double speak, Reich repeatedly drives home the concept that if we can only focus closely on the wheels of the cart we will see that every time they turn, the horse moves.
As the patient gets sicker he gleefully announces the patient is responding to the medicine. He extolls the engine of consumption as the thing that builds wealth and is quick to measure assets but totally ignores liabilities and fails to acknowledge the obvious; that consumption is by definition wealth destruction. In a disturbingly perverted view, Reich asserts that the mess we are in is because we have failed to adequately “share the wealth” while conveniently ignoring the fact that for more than 20 years every effort was made to push money at people in the form of low interest loans that bore no relevance to the associated risk.
His enamor of Eccles, the privateer who helped FDR revitalize the economy, is so gushing that perhaps he can be excused for allowing it to cloud his mind when he manages the great leap of connecting two dots and establishing a trend, forgetting about the small sample size. There may be many reasons for the disproportion of wealth in our country in 1928 and 2007, but Reich uses it to erect a tower of defense of the great failure of 50 years of Keynesian economics better known as the great ice cream effect. Those who promise the most free ice cream to the most people will get elected. Had Reich written his book in 2007, no doubt we would have had a book of gushing acclaim that Keynes was right and the vast wealth spread across the middle class is proof of that. Instead, with the financial collapse, the tower began to crack in 2008 and Reich could not bring himself to accept his share of the blame for what ice cream givers had wrought even though he was one of the givers himself.
Reich effortlessly holds up the wondrous recovery (ending in the 1950’s) from the great depression as proof that the Keynesian approach magically works, cleverly ignoring that given 30 years and just about any approach would have led to recovery. This book is a defense of the indefensible. It is a “someone else did it” defense and he points a finger squarely at the 1% of wealthy Americans for hoarding money, as if we are in a poker game and there are a fixed number of chips, ignoring the croupier behind him printing more chips every second and pouring them into the game by the truckload. Thanks to the ice cream givers we are now all about the “share the poverty” and now with his book in print, Reich can smugly say “I didn’t do it.” Read Peter Schiff’s book on “How and Economy Grows” to clear your head of Reich’s psychobabble. It is a bit corny but you will not end every chapter with your mouth agape thinking “What the hell did he say?”
It would take days to write a review that does the book justice. Its well written and full of great insights.
If I had to say there was one real revolutionary thought for me it is the following;
The wealthy, no not the rich, but those with 50+Million in the bank, need to come to the party. One of the worst offenders is probably Buffet. He is hoarding the money that could be greasing this economy. He espouses frugality but seems to conveniently forget that the US is a consumer-spending based economy. I lived in Palm Beach for a while and I can tell you that the wealthy don't spend anywhere near their fair share. Ok Warren, you win, you're the best. Now break the weld on that wallet and go buy a few billion dollars worth of American products! Why not buy everyone in Nebraska a new Corvette!
Its pretty simple; you give a guy with 100 Million in the bank a tax cut and he uses it to pad his investments. You give the same tax cut to a working mother of two and that tax cut is spent the next day.
The wealthy should either start spending a fair percentage of their wealth or they should be taxed in order to bring that money back into the economy. This should include a tax on capital, and a tax on income. Everyone knows what happens when one person has all the capital in a friendly game of Monopoly - you have to fold up the board and start again. America is dangerously close to folding up the board. It could get ugly.
i am pretty liberal but this is typical one sided liberal viewpoint. It's like listening to a speech. I like that the author read it, but its pretty much the far left viewpoint without any attempt to provide a balanced opinion/view of the isues.
His disproven remedies for an economic fix.
Many of his assertions were not factual
Skewed point of view
His assumptions about governments role in the economy.
Do not recommend this book for a novice on economics.
Liberals will probably like it.
I was amazed at how much spin was in the book. Factual errors and misrepresentation aside, anything contrary to his viewpoint is dismissed and marginalized. I would have though that this would at least been somewhat informative (even it it was obviously biased).
Reading performance was OK, but a diatribe.
It is difficult to write about a book that tells us how we as a society have gone wrong after all if you don't like the book what exactly are you saying? I chose this book to try to understand at a greater depth what has happened to our economy and how perhaps it can be right-sided again. I did however have 2 apprehensions as I clicked the download button.
First it is narrated by the author. Not always a good listen in my experience and opinion however Reich does a good job. His voice is provides for easy listening and he doesn't over emphasize for drama as many self read authors do, in my opinion.
Second, would I "get it"? After all this is not the easiest topic to digest and has great potential for being as dry as toast. Reich however does a fantastic job of "dumbing this down" so that any listener can comprehend the issues at hand.
I also think that Reich does a great job of providing us a history lesson to aid in our understanding of the economic cycles. He explains the politics, in a non-biased fashion and helps the reader comprehend how Wall Street has taken over Main Street. I found it valuable to read how we got here and hear some potential solutions for how we might get out.
Most importantly I think I understand(sadly) why my middle class income feels tight and is getting tighter and why my children will likely struggle in ways I did not in my early adult years. And I feel that the suggested solutions that Reich offers are valid and will shape my choices for political candidates moving forward---just not sure that this will be enough. Definitely scary times ahead.
i.m going to read this again . I've recommended it on facebook .1st time I've ever done that