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
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.
Reich’s 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 America’s economy and rebuilding our society.