Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future Paperback – April 5, 2011


See all 15 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$19.95 $3.35

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307476332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307476333
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (232 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Since his tenure as secretary of labor in the 1990s, Reich has expounded his economic and political opinions in books, and here he reviews the recent recession. His retrospective diagnosis for the recession’s cause is simple: too much national income went to the rich, which induced the federal government and the middle class to subsist on credit, creating a bubble that inevitably burst. From his identification of stagnant consumer purchasing power as the problem, Reich’s solution unfolds with ineluctable Keynesian predictability: raise income, inheritance, and capital-gains taxes on the rich, and move the revenue down the income scale in the form of expanding programs such as Medicare and Medicaid or tax breaks such as the earned income tax credit. Reich also wants a “wage insurance” program and a carbon tax: blissfully, the federal government’s debt would not increase under such a restoration of the “bargain” between rich and nonrich, according to Reich. Ensured a current-events hearing by his public prominence, Reich may find his readership defined by those in tune with his short tract’s expansionist view of government. --Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Mr. Reich's books is very entertaining, well written, and a must read in 2010.
Daniel J Marks
The end of the book makes suggestions of what can be done to get out of our recession, that while things may seem better, will continue to drag on and/or resurface.
G.
The defining statistic of this book is the fact that by 2007 the top 1 percent of America's earners garnered 23 percent of the nation's income.
Izaak VanGaalen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

530 of 555 people found the following review helpful By Robert Stryzinski on September 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
AFTERSHOCK may well be the most important book written on the current economic crisis. I say this because it offers a critical insight that I have seen in very few other places: The fundamental cause of our problems is the relentless drive toward income concentration. The problem with concentrating income into the hands of a few people is that you take money from millions of people who would spend nearly all of it, and give it to a tiny number of people who can't and won't spend it -- but will instead save it, gamble with it, or invest it offshore. The end result is simply too few viable consumers to drive the economy.

Reich points out that income for American middle class families has been essentially stagnant or declining for over three decades. The middle class has coped with this in three basic ways: (1) Women have entered the workforce, (2) People worked longer hours, and, of course, (3) We all relied on debt (credit cards and home equity loans) rather than income to support our consumption. Those coping methods are now exhausted, and we are left in a position where average Americans simply do not have sufficient discretionary income to support a sustainable recovery. The great American consumer class -- which was the driving force behind our prosperity in the 1950s and 1960s -- has been largely decimated.

To his credit, Reich correctly identifies globalization and, especially, automation technology as primary forces behind declining middle class wages. At the same time, rather than enacting countervailing policies, the United States (beginning with Reagan) has gone in the exact opposite direction and adopted a conservative agenda that has actually accelerated the trend toward income concentration.
Read more ›
48 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
202 of 217 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Na on September 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Every middle class American should read this book. Many observations about income disparities have been written up lately but Reich pulls the important points together in a powerful and accessible way.

Reich's main thesis is that the current transition the US economy is under is misunderstood. Many of the policy elite (Geithner, Volcker) have repeated the familiar claim that Americans are living beyond their means. Personally I don't discount that completely but Reich's insight goes much deeper and rings truer: "The problem was not that American spent beyond their means but that their means had not kept up with what the larger economy could and should have been able to provide them."

"We cannot have a sustained recovery until we address it. ... Until this transformation is made, our economy will continue to experience phantom recoveries and speculative bubbles, each more distressing than the one before."

Anyone looking at the unemployment data since WWII has to wonder why the unemployment component of the last three recessions is so prolonged. Instead of a sharp trend up, there are long slopes of delayed returns to peak employment. (Google "calculated risk blog" and look at Dec. 2010 articles.) I believe Reich has demonstrated the main culprit this. To be clear, he is not describing the detailed mechanics of what triggered the Great Recession. (Nouriel Roubini has a good book that I would recommend for more on the financial fraud, leverage and credit risks involved - Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance.
Read more ›
13 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
127 of 141 people found the following review helpful By Victor A. Gallis on September 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this concise and well reasoned book, Robert Reich shows that the origin of the "Great Recession" lay in the widening gap between the very rich and the middle class. In brief, middle class incomes, adjusted for inflation, have stagnated or even declined, while the very rich have accumulated a larger and larger share of the nation's wealth. The nation's wealth has indeed been redistributed: upward.

This created a structural problem in the economy, since middle class workers no longer can afford to buy the products and services they produce, and the very rich cannot possibly spend the vast amounts of money they accumulate. Businesses remain "profitable" by outsourcing jobs or replacing workers with technology; this compounds the middle class dilemma because many of the jobs they did are gone forever.

With a shrinking consumer base for the products they offer, businesses cannot justify expansion, and do not create jobs. The rich, looking for places to put the huge amounts of money they control, are attracted to speculation; new bubbles are inevitable. At the same time, great wealth translates into political power, making any useful change extremely difficult.

Since the problems are structural, they must be solved with structural changes, and Reich ends with a list of suggestions for the kinds of changes that could help direct more money and success to middle class Americans. Many readers will think his suggestions are politically unfeasible, and while he makes a valiant stab at optimism, it is clear that Reich is very much aware of the obstacles in the way.

Before things get better, it seems, they will have to get worse. Much worse.
9 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search