Saving Capitalism Book Summary - Saving Capitalism Book explained in key points
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Saving Capitalism summary

Robert B. Reich

For the Many, Not the Few

4 (72 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

Saving Capitalism by Robert B. Reich discusses the current state of US economy and how it benefits the wealthy elite. It offers solutions for restructuring the system to work for all.

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    Saving Capitalism
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    So-called “free” markets simply can’t exist without government and the rules it sets to guide them.

    Unless you happen to live under one of the world’s few communist regimes, you will be well-versed in the workings of capitalism – an economic system of private property and markets, ordered by supply and demand.

    And if you live in a country with a conservative political majority, these markets are likely “free,” that is, unencumbered by undue government regulation.

    However, there’s a problem with the conservative zeal for so-called “free” markets, namely that it doesn’t account for the fact that governments are actually creators of markets.

    Nonetheless, the commonly held belief is that government intervention distorts markets, thereby reducing their efficiency. People who hold this belief assume that the market knows best, and thus that government oversight should be minimal.

    But here’s where we run into problems.

    There simply can be no free markets without government. Markets do not exist in a vacuum, and governments write the rules that create both markets and define societies. So, just to exist, every market needs a government that writes and enforces its rules – rules which shape the building blocks of capitalism.

    These rule-based building blocks include property, monopoly, contracts, bankruptcy and enforcement.

    Property refers to rules regarding what can be owned. That’s because making or buying something doesn’t necessarily mean you can own it. For instance, we have laws that prohibit owning a nuclear bomb. But it’s also necessary to have rules governing intellectual property, such as music.

    Monopoly is a set of rules defining how much market control any one entity can have. For example, these rules govern how large and economically powerful society will let a company become.

    Contracts define what can be bought and sold while agreeing to the terms of sale. That’s because buying and selling commodities require more than merely setting a price. When selling regulated commodities such as drugs or food, for instance, it’s essential to have a contract that dictates clear rules for the conditions of the sale.

    Bankruptcy is the rule responsible for handling situations when purchasers can’t pay up. And finally, enforcement is necessary to ensure that people abide by all the other rules.

    Now that you know the five building blocks of capitalism, let’s take a look at how they play out in America’s economic system.

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    What is Saving Capitalism about?

    Saving Capitalism (2015) is a biting critique of the world’s economic order but also an optimistic look into how capitalism could support the common good. These blinks will teach you how and why capitalism is failing most people, and where it needs to go to do right by the majority.

    Saving Capitalism Review

    Saving Capitalism (2015) by Robert B. Reich is a thought-provoking exploration of the flaws in America's current economic system and how to fix them. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a fresh perspective on capitalism, challenging conventional ideas and sparking insightful discussions about wealth and power.
    • With its well-researched analysis and thought-provoking arguments, the book stimulates critical thinking and encourages readers to question the status quo.
    • Reich's deep understanding of economic inequality and political structures makes the book educational and enlightening, shedding light on complex topics in an accessible way.

    Best quote from Saving Capitalism

    Government doesnt intrude on the free market. It creates the market.

    —Robert B. Reich
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    Who should read Saving Capitalism?

    • Economists and students of capitalistic systems
    • Anyone living and working in a capitalistic society
    • Activists and people fighting for social justice

    About the Author

    Robert B. Reich is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to this, he served in three presidential administrations, most recently as labor secretary under former US President Bill Clinton.

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    Saving Capitalism FAQs 

    What is the main message of Saving Capitalism?

    In Saving Capitalism, Robert B. Reich explores the influence of power and money in shaping our economy and proposes ways to restore balance.

    How long does it take to read Saving Capitalism?

    The reading time for Saving Capitalism varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Saving Capitalism a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Saving Capitalism is worth reading as it offers insights into the challenges of our economic system and proposes potential solutions for a more equitable society.

    Who is the author of Saving Capitalism?

    The author of Saving Capitalism is Robert B. Reich.

    What to read after Saving Capitalism?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Saving Capitalism, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Future of Capitalism by Paul Collier
    • Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire by Rebecca Henderson
    • Talking to My Daughter About the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis
    • The Common Good by Robert B. Reich
    • The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff
    • Capitalism by James Fulcher
    • The Mindful Body by Ellen J. Langer
    • The End of Race Politics by Coleman Hughes
    • How Highly Effective People Speak by Peter Andrei
    • Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman