Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

In this timely polemic, Reich delivers an insightful new reading of the current economic crisis and a thoughtful, if likely to be controversial, plan for dealing with its aftermath. When the nation’s economy foundered in 2008, most people blamed Wall Street. Reich suggests a different reason for the meltdown. 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. A quick history lesson, a primer on the virtues of Keynesian economics and the failure of 30 years of trickle-down theory, Aftershock makes for a bracing read. You may not like Reich's recommendation of increasing taxes for the rich, in fact you may bridle at the very notion of government stimulus and wealth redistribution but Reich raises real concerns that we are either going to deal with or face the consequences in the days to come.

— Matt, Los Angeles


Updated for paperback publication, Aftershock is a brilliant reading of the causes of our current economic crisis, with a plan for dealing with its challenging aftermath.
When the nation’s economy foundered in 2008, blame was directed almost universally at Wall Street bankers. But Robert B. Reich, one of our most experienced and trusted voices on public policy, suggests another reason for the meltdown. Our real problem, he argues, lies in the increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of the richest Americans, while stagnant wages and rising costs have forced the middle class to go deep into debt. Reich’s thoughtful and detailed account of where we are headed over the next decades—and how we can fix our economic system—is a practical, humane, and much-needed blueprint for restoring America’s economy and rebuilding our society.

About the Author

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the Richard and Rhoda 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. He has written twelve books, including "The Work of Nations, " which has been translated into twenty-two languages, and the best seller "Supercapitalism." His articles have appeared in "The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, " and "The Wall Street Journal." He is also cofounding editor of "The American Prospect" magazine and provides weekly commentaries on public radio's "Marketplace." He lives in Berkeley and blogs at

Praise For…

“Important and well executed. . . . Reich is fluent, fearless, even amusing.”
The New York Times Book Review
“A good read. . . . [Reich] provides a thoughtful dialogue about the structural problems that led to the recent recession. . . . His ideas are worth exploring.”
The Washington Post
“One of the clearest explanations to date of . . . how the United States went from . . . ‘the Great Prosperity’ of 1947 to 1975 to the Great Recession.”
—Bob Herbert, The New York Times

“All Americans will benefit from reading this insightful, timely book.”
—Bill Bradley

“Lucid and cogent.”
“Well argued and frighteningly plausible: without a return to the “basic bargain” (that workers are also consumers), the “aftershock” of the Great Recession includes a 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.”
Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9780307476333
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: April 5th, 2011
Pages: 208