“Aftershock” is a copycat ripoff of several other books. There are significant differences. Aftershock lacks the depth of analysis of similar books.
On the other hand, like many others starting a decade or more ago, Reich correctly identifies the mal-distribution of income in the USA that has occurred over the last thirty years as the primary problem with the economy. Okay, give Reich credit. Like a lot of other people, he figured that one out.
After that Reich moves off into a fantasy world when he blames automation as the primary culprit for the loss of jobs in the United States and one of the chief culprits for the redistribution of income from working people to the rich over the last thirty years. What nonsense! Perhaps this was a way for Reich to exonerate the Clinton Administration and its support of free trade agreements like Nafta. Reich was labor secretary under Clinton. The problem is that free trade agreements are a primary agent of income redistribution.
A corporation ships high paying job overseas and then redistributes the difference between the old compensation in the USA and the new lower compensation in third world nations to rich CEOs and shareholders via higher dividends and share prices. Anybody with half a brain can see this, but Reich can’t.
Reich’s book came out just in time to give corporate Democrats the rationale they need to support free trade agreements last summer with South Korea, Columbia and Panama. The Economic Policy Institute estimates nearly a million American jobs will be lost over the next ten years to the South Korea free trade agreement alone. Millions more might be lost to Panama and Columbia. Congress approved those treaties last October and President Obama decided losing jobs wasn’t a big deal since his re-election wasn’t for another year.
Liberal Democratic Senator Ron Wyden prepared a summer offensive in 2011 in the latest round of his war against the middle class. This corporate plutocrat is a member of the Senate Finance Committee. Wyden is also the chairperson of the subcommittee on trade. Those three trade agreements came come through Wyden. He supported them.
Jaymie White is Wyden’s point man on trade for the subcommittee. At a meeting last year with activists opposed to these free trade income redistribution agreements, White insisted that free trade did not cost our nation any jobs. He insisted automation is the culprit.
Thank you Robert Reich for giving talking points to the corporate Democrats even though knowledgeable people know this is a lie. Free trade is an income redistribution scam and Reich knows this. By the way, the idea of automation as a permanent job destroyer goes back to David Ricardo and Karl Marx.
Look what automation has done for manufacturing in China. It has created millions of jobs. It’s true that automation kills jobs, but the forces that bring about automation also bring more jobs. Think in terms of a store clerk twenty years ago. Nowadays, some of them have been replaced by machines. So those people have lost their jobs. But the machines have to be designed, built, installed and maintained. That creates more jobs.
Same thing with typewriters. They’re still around but not widely used compared to fifty years ago. They’ve been replaced by computers. The computer industry supports a lot more jobs per capita than the old typewriter industry used to. Ergo, Reich is completely wrong on this.
That’s why despite automation, and productivity increases, the number of jobs actually increase. That’s why Reich and this book are full of it.