On the never ending quest to understand our economy and my personal responsibility in it, I happened across a book entitled Supercapitalism and quickly decided it was a must-read. Actually, I heard the author, Robert Reich, on a radio program where he was a guest speaker. He spoke sense and I was intrigued.
Mr. Reich, having received his higher education at Oxford and Yale, is currently a professor at UC Berkeley . He has also served under three national administrations, including acting as the nations 22nd Secretary of Labor. Qualified? It seems so.
Supercapitalism, his 11th published book, spends some time explaining how America came to be where it is today (which is super interesting in itself), but primarily focus on the difference between capitalism and democracy with an emphasis on public policy and legislation. What the heck does that mean? Here, let me just quote the last paragraph of the book:
"We are all consumers and most of us are investors, and in those roles we try to get the best deals we possibly can. That is how we participate in a market economy and enjoy the benefits of supercapitalism. But those private benefits often come with social costs. We are also citizens who have a right and a responsibility to participate in a democracy. We thus have it in our power to reduce those social costs, thereby making the true price of the goods and services we purchase as low as possible. Yet we can accomplish this larger feat only if we take our responsibilities as citizens seriously and protect our democracy. The first step, which is often the hardest, is to get our thinking straight."
Yes it is. Well, if you participated in my Wal-Mart post in any way -- from reading it and wondering where you stand, to commenting with your firm opinions -- I encourage you to read this book (but if you didn't, I encourage you too). Not because it addresses Wal-Mart specifically but because it addresses the concern in my heart when I wrote that post and it would be a great launching point to continue that discussion. If not here in my blog, then at least in our minds. Please, let me know if you read the book, it's so interesting and I'd love to discuss.