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I'll Be Short: Essentials for a Decent Working Society Paperback – May 15, 2003
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"Reich has a talent for mastering economic and social complexities and making them easy for the layperson to grasp." --Daniel Akst, The Wall Street Journal
"Reich writes in ways unusual for an economist; he is self-effacing, witty and more interested in exploring the world's complexities than in uncovering unvarying laws." --Alan Wolfe, The New York Times Book Review
Top Customer Reviews
One of Reich's ideas that caught my attention was his proposal to extend traditional public schooling from grades K through 12 to K through 14. The 'accountability in education' movement often focuses on preparing students for four-year college degrees, despite the fact that most Americans do not attend or graduate from four-year college programs. In a discussion of the push by many universities to lavish resources on "star" students, Reich suggests that state funding should be shifted to community colleges and vocational programs.
Reich ends his book by addressing the reader with a challenge to personally provide political leadership and involvement despite the political denial, escapism, and resignation that is much too common today in our society.
This is a timely and brief book. You can read it in a day or two. Rather than put it on your bookshelf, give it to a friend and ask your friend to pass it on. (Even better buy a couple of copies and pass them along.) I plan to give a copy to a progressive candidate for the California legislature. Maybe some of Reich's ideas will "bubble-up" to the California legislature in the not-too-distant future.
His points about the evolution of our work force are food for thought and one hopes that the current leadership in Washington is listening to Reich but I doubt it. Mr. Reich is actually a thinker and not a rabid partisan politician which makes him a refreshing breath of fresh air at a time when tv is full of bombast with everyone talking and no one listening. Chris Matthews did you hear me?
Read any book by Robert Reich and you'll learn something. It's like visiting with a favorite teacher or professor that you admire and respect. The hours fly by and you're just in awe of the person and what they have to say. Robert Reich is a true gentleman and a wise man as well.
The problem is that happy and healthy, or unhappy and not so healthy, foreign workers are still cheaper, and that is where the jobs have gone and are going. No argument from morality is going to stop that. His argument, sliced a little finer, is that American companies need to make American workers happier and healthier at home so that don't have to out source; that is, make them happier than their cheaper cousins in Bangladesh and they will produce more goods and services (albeit at a living wage) and everybody in America will profit both economically and morally.
If only. I think Reich is right that making workers happier and healthier will make them more productive. But I don't think that will solve the problem of jobs going overseas. US companies will simply use the same happier, healthier techniques (at a cheaper cost) overseas and they'll still send the jobs away.
Reich's argument that spending more money on education and job training, on the other hand, is the right way to go. If America's work force is the best educated and most skilled it will out-compete foreign labor for the work and the work will stay right here. Indeed foreign companies will move their plants to the United States to get the best employees.Read more ›
... I also like what you wrote on page 115: "But to become a highly productive society, we have to change our thinking about the role of government. We've become so accustomed to thinking about education, health care, child care, and public transportation as government SPENDING that we don't see the obvious: In the new global economy where financial capital is footloose, these are critical public INVESTMENTS. They mark the only path to a sustained and shared prosperity. Failure to make them - and make them wisely - condemns a society to a steadily declining standard of living. The same is true for regulations protecting worker safety, guarding the environment, and preventing discrimination. These, too, are investments in our future."
... As the former owner of a natural food store, a member of a dozen environmental groups, and a sociology major who focused on conflict theory and social stratification, I KNOW that YOU know what you are talking about - and I agree with all of it. ... Good Luck in your run for Governor! - The Aeolian Kid
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoy watching Robert Reich spar with Steve Moore on CNBC's Kudlow & Company. Although I typically agree with Kudlow, Reich's perspective offers balance to the sometimes overly... Read morePublished on May 23, 2007 by Jason Seagraves
I teach economics, and even I find it techie, dry and obtuse. My biggest concern is how do I keep the students awake. Read morePublished on February 23, 2006 by Messenger
Although the premise of this book is brilliant, perceptive and absolutely vital to the next few years; Reich sadly presents an incisive example of the economic thinking and... Read morePublished on December 5, 2005 by Theodore A. Rushton
This short book, which reads like a commencement address to a Yale graduating class, contains the summation of Reich's wisdom, intelligence and wit gained through a lifetime of... Read morePublished on July 19, 2004 by Robert Carlberg
Robert Reich is a tax-and-spend leftist who thinks that guaranteed jobs and a wacky communal wealth scheme should be some sort of unalienable right. Read morePublished on September 10, 2002