From the best-selling author of Saving Capitalism and The Common Good, an urgent analysis of how the "rigged" systems of American politics and power operate, how this status quo came to be, and how average citizens can enact change.
Millions of Americans have lost confidence in our political and economic system. After years of stagnant wages, volatile job markets, and an unwillingness by those in power to deal with profound threats such as climate change, there is a mounting sense that the system is fixed, serving only those select few with enough money to secure a controlling stake. With the characteristic clarity and passion that has made him a central civil voice, Robert B. Reich shows how wealth and power have interacted to install an elite oligarchy, eviscerate the middle class, and undermine democracy. Using Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase as an example, Reich exposes how those at the top propagate myths about meritocracy, national competitiveness, corporate social responsibility, and the "free market" to distract most Americans from their accumulation of extraordinary wealth, and power over the system. Instead of answering the call to civic duty, they have chosen to uphold self-serving policies that line their own pockets and benefit their bottom line. Reich's objective is not to foster cynicism, but rather to demystify the system so that we might instill fundamental change and demand that democracy works for the majority once again.
About the Author
ROBERT B. REICH is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations and has written fifteen books, including The Work of Nations, which has been translated into twenty-two languages, and the best sellers The Common Good, Saving Capitalism, Supercapitalism, and Locked in the Cabinet. His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, and he writes a weekly column for The Guardian and Newsweek. He is co-creator of the award-winning film Inequality for All, and the Netflix original Saving Capitalism, and co-founder of Inequality Media. He lives in Berkeley and blogs at robertreich.org.
"Reich has an almost unmatched ability to make insightful observations about the nation’s inequities, and in The System, he observes that the question is no longer Democrat versus Republican or left versus right, but 'democracy versus oligarchy'. . . Valuable. . . the anger [it] will generate may prove politically energizing."—Jeff Madrick, The New York Times Book Review
"Reich does a brilliant job succinctly reminding us of the scale and scope of corporate corruption, economic inequality, and political spinelessness in America."—William Hawes, New York Journal of Books
"[The System] is ultimately an examination of the nature of power. Such an examination easily dispels the demagogic narrative, pulling back the curtain of wealth and power that currently obscures those with both from careful examination of how they secured and perpetuate such privilege. . . For decades, [the market] has been serving fewer and fewer, and the only way to turn the tide back in the favor of the many is for citizens to re-engage and raise our voices."—Dylan Schleicher, Porchlight
"Incisive. . . [A] much-needed, readably concise political and economic analysis."—Kirkus
"[Reich's] critique of the current system is evidence-based and authoritative. This call-to-action will resonate with progressive readers."—Publishers Weekly
"Robert Reich is one of our country’s most insightful commentators on politics and economics. Both a diagnosis and a call to arms, The System shows how our economy and our democracy are rigged to work for the wealthy and well-connected. Change is possible - if we are willing to fight for it."—Sen. Elizabeth Warren
"Robert Reich is one of the most important voices in America, fighting for an economy that works for all people and not just those at the top. Understanding what is happening in our country is critical if we want to fix it and Robert Reich is an exceptional teacher."—Sen. Bernie Sanders
“In this book Robert Reich exposes the con job of America’s present manic hyper-capitalism. He exposes a ‘system’ that is defined less by free markets than by elite capture. He shatters the myths about rising tides and boats and slices of pie and whatever else those hackneyed people say, propelled by the insight that while money may not be a zero-sum situation, power is. And when America’s plutocrats use money to capture power to make sure that they monopolize future money, rage swells, human potential withers on the vine, and the soul of the country changes.”—Anand Giridharadas, author, Winners Take All