Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Aftershock

Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's FutureAftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future
by Robert B. Reich

Here is Reich's concise primer on how corruption works in 21st-century Washington, as opposed to the Gilded Age when "the lackeys of robber barons literally deposited sacks of cash on the desks of friendly legislators." (p. 108)

"No policy has been altered, no bill or vote willfully changed. But inevitably, as the politician enters into these endless social rounds among the networks of the wealthy [breakfast, coffee, dinner, golf], his view of the world is affected. Increasingly, the politician hears the same kinds of suggestions, the same concerns and priorities. The wealthy do not speak in one voice, to be sure, but they share a broad common perspective. The politician hears only indirectly and abstractly from the less comfortable members of society. They are not at the coffees and dinners. They do not tell him directly and repeatedly, in casual banter and through personal stories, how they view the world. They do not speak continuously into the politician's ear about their concerns. The politician learns of those concerns from his pollsters, and from occasional political appearances back in his home district, but he is not immersed in them as he is in the culture of the comfortable. In this way, access to the network of the wealthy does not necessarily buy a politician's vote. It buys his mind." (p. 110)

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