Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life

Supercapitalism The Transformation of Business Democracy and Everyday Life From one of America s foremost economic and political thinkers comes a vital analysis of our new hypercompetitive and turbo charged global economy and the effect it is having on American democracy Wit

  • Title: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life
  • Author: Robert B. Reich
  • ISBN: 9780307277992
  • Page: 364
  • Format: Paperback
  • From one of America s foremost economic and political thinkers comes a vital analysis of our new hypercompetitive and turbo charged global economy and the effect it is having on American democracy With his customary wit and insight, Reich shows how widening inequality of income and wealth, heightened job insecurity, and corporate corruption are merely the logical resultsFrom one of America s foremost economic and political thinkers comes a vital analysis of our new hypercompetitive and turbo charged global economy and the effect it is having on American democracy With his customary wit and insight, Reich shows how widening inequality of income and wealth, heightened job insecurity, and corporate corruption are merely the logical results of a system in which politicians are beholden to the influence of business lobbyists than to the voters who elected them Powerful and thought provoking, Supercapitalism argues that a clear separation of politics and capitalism will foster an enviroment in which both business and government thrive, by putting capitalism in the service of democracy, and not the other way around.

    One thought on “Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life”

    1. This is as lucid and penetrating a summary of the causes of the economic crisis as I can find from a left-center perspective. Here it is squeezed to the barest minimum of facts.The period from 1940-1970 is a 'Not-Quite-Golden-Age' of the relationship between Democracy and Capitalism in America. It is 'not quite golden' due to the problems of racial and sexual discrimination, but the fundamentals of the economy were indeed strong. Growth was high and steady, inflation was low, wages were high, an [...]

    2. I will now continue worshipping at the altar of Robert Reich.I came away from this book thinking, "Wow, I really learned something." Not, "I learned some interesting factoids," or "I learned of an interesting opinion." I really learned.Reich presents his premise very succinctly at the beginning of the book: The last several decades have involved a shift of power away from us in our capacities as citizens and toward us as consumers and investors. He then spends most of the rest of the book lookin [...]

    3. This book, on the underlying causes behind what's changed in the capitalist world since the mid 70's and why, is a fascinating read. It also made me quake with rage on about every other page. That's the thing about looking at underlying causes of problems: it usually takes away the more obvious solutions, like "fire that guy", by demonstrating where he came from, and why there's a long line of people who will do pretty much the exact same thing, waiting to take his place.I'm not just talking abo [...]

    4. I had the distinct privilege of meeting Professor Reich in San Francisco last year. He is an intelligent, insightful, engaging man. I wish I were so privileged as to have an opportunity to take a class with him at Berkeley. Oh, he's also very, very short. Like, really short. And nice. He's nice too . . . for someone who attended law school. I enjoyed this book. This was my first time reading any of Professor Reich's work. I knew of him from his time as Secretary of Labor with the Clinton adminis [...]

    5. I have no idea why I thought that Mr Reich would deliver the knockout blow or at least the stunning indictment of unrestrainted global capitalism in place today. Mr Reich was labor secretary during that most probusiness of administrations, the Clinton years. A probusiness stance only furthered and exacerbated in the following 8 Bush years. One could rightly accuse Mr. Reich of being an architect of the present global meltdown. But any mea culpas would be hard to find. No, what you will find here [...]

    6. Robert Reich is sometimes categorized as a standard liberal idealogue. This book should put that characture to rest. Reich sees himself as pro-capitalism. The market is needed, Reich argues (echoing Milton Friedman) because dissent is undermined if one cannot dissent and also buy bread without government funds. There is, however, a difference between democratic capitalism and supercaptilism. And we have gone from one to the other, with terrible results.Simply put, Reich's thesis is that followin [...]

    7. This book describes the transition, particularly in America but also somewhat in the rest of the world, from a balanced capitalist democracy to a capitalism-dominated system.Previously, businesses served many purposes: they were important parts of communities, giving people stable jobs, strengthening communities and the country, and mostly stay out of politics and the government. Over time, as competition and widespread stock investing got more popular, an evolutionary process transformed the go [...]

    8. Reich admirably explains what neoliberalism is, at least, how it came to be and what the thresholds for its implications are.He is very clear in defining how and why lobbying works, and how an excess of money and competition disruptions politics, economics, labor and forms globalism. The root of this, he claims is technological disruption; tech discovered and funded through pentagon programs to fight communism. This tech eventually finds its way into consumer hands and starts to erode market org [...]

    9. Without a doubt, one of the best books I've ever read on the economics of American society, and how this has changed from the Democratic Capitalism of the 1950s and 1960s (remember LBJ's Great Society?) to the Supercapitalism of our present time. Reich is adept at explaining economic policy in terms that the layman can understand, while keeping the narrative intelligent and engaging. I know understand why very little public policy legislation comes out of Congress, why present day CEOs are paid [...]

    10. I see myself as unequivocally capitalist, believing in creative destruction and the rewarding of those who give the most value to consumers. Nevertheless, despite the scathing condemnation of supercapitalism in this book, I feel that it was a worthwhile read, and recommend it to everyone who wants to have a stake in greater society.It is especially relevant to Americans, who always confuse democracy and capitalism. Nowadays, there is a large disconnect between these two mechanisms. One has done [...]

    11. This is the best non-fiction book I've read since Gödel, Escher, Bach An Eternal Golden Braid, and the best economics/public policy book I've ever read. (It beats Freakonomics because it's actually applicable to real life.) I recommend this book to anyone and everyone--especially if you're interested in public policy and how to strengthen democracy here in the U.S. and worldwide.

    12. It's so easy today for us to rant about corporate greed or the sad fact that small independent businesses are being replaced by large superstores. And we are quick to blame heartless CEOs or big corporations. But in his book, Supercapitalism, Reich describes the forces in the US that are driving these changes and how we, as consumers, stock holders, and employees play a distinct and sometimes contrary role. Definitely some interesting points raised in this book - excellent in audio and a great b [...]

    13. A very well written book about the interaction between capitalism and democracy. It contains an excellent history of markets in the United States, displaying how they have functioned in the past, how they operate currently, and what caused those changes. Reich's writing eschews ideology. This book is easy to read, and I would recommend it to anyone regardless of political orientation.

    14. An amazingly written book about what capitalism has transformed into. Just started it, and completely spellbound.

    15. must read to get an idea on the policy level drive by the big corporations, written by someone who is so closely associated with the processes and actors

    16. Over the last couple of decades I’ve accumulated a library of books that I always intended to read, but never quite got around to. Many of those books have taken on a lot more relevance since the 2016 election.Take for example Supercapitalism, by Robert Reich. Copyrighted in 2007, it turns out that Reich’s analysis has a lot to say about the predicament we find ourselves in today, 10 years later. And although Reich is all over the social media feeds as a committed anti-Trump crusader, his in [...]

    17. Hmm, so how to review Supercapitalism? The short answer is that, as a student of economics and economic philosophy, I appreciate what Prof. Reich has to say. He is highly educated and experienced at the highest levels. In this book, there is much with which I agreed much (the majority) with which I disagree. I think one of the first things to understand is what Prof. Reich means by the term "Super Capitalism". I took it not to be his idea of what "super" capitalism is or should/could be. No, it [...]

    18. Supercapitalism by Robert B. Reich, is an interesting pre-recession analysis of the movement toward what Reich terms "Supercapitalism." This book starts off with an analysis of what Reich describes as the "Not Quite So Golden Age' of immense US-ked growth from the 1870's-1970's. This was an era of intensive innovation and invention, and massive geo-political change that led to the US-led system of economics and politics we know today. This age in the US was full of massive growth, huge demograph [...]

    19. Supercapitalism documents the transformation in the American economy from what Robert Reich calls "Democratic Capitalism" towards "Supercapitalism". In the "not so Golden Age", between the end of World War II and the mid-1970's, the U.S. economy was structured as a three-way contract between big business, big labor, and big government. Business got its profits, labor got its wages and benefits, and government played its role as regulator and agent of the unions. Absent foreign competition, large [...]

    20. In Supercapitalism Robert B. Reich (former Secretary of Labor under Clinton) argues that while capitalism has progressed in the last 40 years offering consumers and investors more choices, power and freedoms, that this has come at the expense of a diminishment to democracy. People have less individual power at the voting booth, candidates are less responsive to the needs of their constituents and government expends its efforts serving the businesses who bank roll their careers rather than the pu [...]

    21. Capitalism is roughly defined as "economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and operated for profit from investment." Democracy is defined as "a form of government in which all the people have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives." Admittedly not entirely well-versed in economics or political science, I believed that democracy and capitalism were always symbiotic (meaning what was good for democracy was always good for capitalism and vice-versa). Furth [...]

    22. A very intuitive, intriguing look at how capitalism and democracy fit together. Reich dismisses political theories that place the problems of our recent decades at the feet of one class or another (i.e. Ronal Reagan showing businesses that unions could and should be stood up to, corporate executives becoming greedier or less ethical) and seeks a systematic understanding of how capitalistic forces, once constrained by a mix of democratic institutions and oligopolies, has come to overwhelm the dem [...]

    23. Neat book presenting his theory that the ills of capitalism are not the fault of corporations, but rather democracy. Corporations exist to make money for their shareholders, so the only way to ensure actual social responsibility is through legislation. OK, fair enough. I'm curious to know what he thinks these days, since he wrote this before the current economic downturn. In his own words:--"Personally, I'd be willing to sacrifice some of the benefits I get as a consumer and investor in order to [...]

    24. Investment capitalism's intense competition leads actors to gain any imaginable advantage over their competitors. Personal ethics must give way to investor demands, because of how liquid investment has become and how easily investors can invest in better returns from competitors that don't have ethical (whatever that means) reservations that stagnate profits. This, coupled with government deregulation, has transformed the economy from one of oligopolies driven by labor unions benefiting unionize [...]

    25. I picked this up on a whim I like Reich's writing even though I don't always agree with him. Unsurprisingly, this is a well-written book, but it seems a little under-cooked to me. His thesis is that the global shift from one mode of capitalism to another (democratic capitalism to "supercapitalism") since the 1970s is essentially caused by structural or technological developments rather than political or moral movements. New technologies have empowered us as consumers and investors, which has ina [...]

    26. Robert Reich's Supercapitalism is a must-read for anyone hoping to make a positive difference in today's world. Using accessible prose and familiar examples, Reich portrays the economic and political world we live in and the nature of our agency in it. Along the way, he critiques common but misleading explanations of how economic activity and social goals relate to each other. I'm aware that my academic background in economics and business helped me to read this book quickly and enhanced my enjo [...]

    27. Reich takes a nuanced view of economics which challenged my thinking and eventually won me over (although I wish he would have given more in the way of solutions than the final fifteen pages).Although I disagree with him on several points, I am agreement with the thesis of his book: namely, that the citizen has been overwhelmed by the consumer and investor, and hence, democracy is in danger of being subordinated to the economy (more so than it already has). The end result is the monolithic super [...]

    28. An excellent read. Reich sums up the changes that have occurred in American economics and politics since the 1950s, and he does it without any of the political bickering and finger-pointing you'd expect from such a topic.Instead, he presents an altogether different argument: with an explosion in information technologies and global connectivity, the average consumer and investor has more options than ever before. With this diversity in the market, there's more pressure than ever for individual co [...]

    29. Reich offers a succinct, interesting history of the relationship between business and democracy in the last fifty years. Here’s the nutshell, as I see it: in post WW2 America, there was a sort-of detente reached between large companies who made profits through economies of scale, government which used regulation to protect these companies from competition, and trade unions that were able to negotiate strong wages for its workers. This arrangement, made as part of “Democratic Capitalism,” b [...]

    30. Sometimes along comes a book that just hits it in the head. This is that book in my opinion. Briefly, it exposes how we as consumers and investors have benefited greatly from the evolution of more competitive and global markets but at great cost to us at citizens. The author has a very clean style and each chapter focuses on one main idea. The first chapter explains how capitalism of the post WWII times ushered an "Almost Golden Era" of corporate statemanship where the ideals of democracy and bu [...]

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