If you’ve studied economics before, you would know that the free market system or capitalism is a great socioeconomic structure that has presented many countries with considerable wealth over the years. The main problem with Capitalism is that the rich get richer and more powerful, while those of middle and lower classes either stay where they are or even get lower over time.
Saving Capitalism is a book that explores these problems and is written by Robert Reich, author of The Work of Nations (1992) and a professor at University of California, Berkley. Adding to his list of accomplishments, Reich has served as the U.S. Secretary of Labour under former President Bill Clinton between 1993 and 1997. This grants you more reason to explore his book, should you have the time, as it is truly an interesting read on the criticisms of modern-day capitalism. Without further ado, let's dive into some of the key concepts highlighted in his book.
The phenomenon of wealth hoarding has been widely criticized as the immense wealth from those of power and status are supposedly enough for the entire world to live at a comfortable level should the wealth be spread equally. Pareto Efficient is the concept that some Economists would like to call it.
Such concepts are not new but is highlighted throughout Reich’s book in layman terms, making it truly an enjoyable read for those that may find such academic problems dry. Reich focuses on an activist government as a solution to modern day capitalism, seeing it as a way to restore power to the people. Some of the proposed solutions include minimum wages, labour laws and changing contract laws against employers (especially corporations).
Should these solutions not be explored over time, Reich proposes that there could be longstanding effects of a dysfunctional society of increasing unjust and dissatisfaction. However, it is to note that the book judges the free-market system by a certain characteristic. Depending on your view of how the market economy works, you may find yourself impartial to Reich’s train of thoughts. After all, it is easy to have a growing disdain towards those of power and affluence should you be anywhere below them.
The greatest takeaway from this book would then be that if you don’t do anything about your current situation, you would probably experience a steady decline in your material wealth and position and stagnate. So what are some of the ways you would be able to further your position in life?
Well, the key here is then to take active management of your personal wealth. This means reading up on investments and safeguarding your life through insurance in order to multiply your existing position. These are not difficult things to accomplish but will require noticeable effort in order to get around. The problem with many people these days is that they are comfortable with settling for average. There’s nothing wrong in that, but if you’re an individual that wants more, then there is only one way up – hard work and being smart about your existing wealth.