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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-09-21
  • Publisher: Knopf

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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.

Author Biography

Robert B. Reich is professor of public policy at the 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, and was an economic advisor to President Obama. His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Berkeley.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Pendulump. 3
The Broken Bargain
Eccles's Insightp. 11
Parallelsp. 18
The Basic Bargainp. 28
How Concentrated Income at the Top Hurts the Economyp. 32
Why Policymakers Obsess About the Financial Economy Instead of About the Real Onep. 38
The Great Prosperity: 1947-1975p. 42
How We Got Ourselves into the Same Mess Againp. 50
How Americans Kept Buying Anyway: The Three Coping Mechanismp. 60
The Future Without Coping Mechanismsp. 64
Why China Won't Save Usp. 69
No Return to Normalp. 75
The 2020 Electionp. 79
The Politics of Economics, 2010-2020p. 82
Why Can't We Be Content with Less?p. 85
The Pain of Economic Lossp. 89
Adding Insult to Injuryp. 92
Outrage at a Rigged Gamep. 101
The Politics of Angerp. 114
The Bargain Restored
What Should Be Done: A New Deal for the Middle Classp. 127
How It Could Get Donep. 141
Acknowledgmentsp. 147
Notesp. 149
Indexp. 163
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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Customer Reviews

A great anaylsis, April 13, 2011
Robert Reich's Aftershock rationally and succinctly explains the mess we're in and offers solutions that should be adopted by the Obama administration ASAP. Unfortunately, if they try, Republicans and Tea Partiers will scream "SOCIALIST" but offer no alternative. This cheap textbook should be required reading for anyone who is concerned about politics and our world today. Really enjoyed reading this textbook. Whether or not one agrees with everything he says, I think every person who cares to understand the true causes of the economic meltdown should at least read his perspective on it.
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Aftershock: 4 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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