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The System

Who Rigged It, How We Fix It
Written by: Robert B. Reich
Narrated by: Robert B. Reich
Length: 6 hrs and 7 mins

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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of Saving Capitalism and The Common Good, an urgent analysis of how the "rigged" systems of American politics and power operate, how this status quo came to be, and how average citizens can enact change.

Millions of Americans have lost confidence in our political and economic system. After years of stagnant wages, volatile job markets, and an unwillingness by those in power to deal with profound threats such as climate change, there is a mounting sense that the system is fixed, serving only those select few with enough money to secure a controlling stake. With the characteristic clarity and passion that has made him a central civil voice, Robert B. Reich shows how wealth and power have interacted to install an elite oligarchy, eviscerate the middle class, and undermine democracy.

Using Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase as an example, Reich exposes how those at the top propagate myths about meritocracy, national competitiveness, corporate social responsibility, and the "free market" to distract most Americans from their accumulation of extraordinary wealth, and power over the system. Instead of answering the call to civic duty, they have chosen to uphold self-serving policies that line their own pockets and benefit their bottom line.

Reich's objective is not to foster cynicism, but rather to demystify the system so that we might instill fundamental change and demand that democracy works for the majority once again.

©2020 Robert B. Reich (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Incisive.... [A] much-needed, readably concise political and economic analysis." (Kirkus)

"Robert Reich is one of our country’s most insightful commentators on politics and economics. Both a diagnosis and a call to arms, The System shows how our economy and our democracy are rigged to work for the wealthy and well-connected. Change is possible - if we are willing to fight for it." (Sen. Elizabeth Warren)

"Robert Reich is one of the most important voices in America, fighting for an economy that works for all people and not just those at the top. Understanding what is happening in our country is critical if we want to fix it and Robert Reich is an exceptional teacher." (Sen. Bernie Sanders)

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  • 25-03-20

Turn Off Your TV. Wake Up and Listen Now!

I'll keep this brief, and most of all, please do realize I'm not some fringe wacko. Instead, please dive into this audiobook. Yes, it's dense. Yes, it's complex. But oh, how true and valuable it is: for you, for your children, and for your grandchildren. I know you love them and want the best for them: so listen to this, and from these truths, choose the options which will free your descendants from a narrow and defeated fate and instead take the tough but certain choice: a country which truly cares for its people.

Because the "American Dream" -- unless regained through a catastrophic revolution -- is dead. I'm NOT an extremist! I grew up in the 1950s, when American corporations still cared for their employees and their communities, and that's what enabled me to afford college, build a great career, and a comfortable life. But that dream, for most of you and your families, is gone. You have options, and you have a chance: assemble the actual data. Ignore the spin of "journalism" and the media. Think for yourselves and find the truth!

14 people found this helpful

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  • Janice K.
  • 25-03-20

Enlightening & insightful!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well reasoned & fact based, while also giving hope!

5 people found this helpful

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  • J. Piper
  • 28-03-20

Outstanding and comprehensive

Listened during only two sessions. Must read for all Americans though highly doubtful any Trumpites will read. We live in another very sad part of our history. Have we learned? Thank goodness for Robert Reich.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Taylor
  • 26-03-20

great book

Robert has a political perspective that I can relate too. His ideas are thoughtful and intuitive.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jane A. Burman
  • 03-04-20

Loved it!

I loved this book and all of his work that I have listened to and read so far. He is thoughtful and presents a complete picture. Until I read this book I had forgotten about the days (when I worked at GE) when the annual report mentioned "stakeholders" not shareholders.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Listener
  • 01-04-20

Why the Wealthy Get Wealthier and We Get Crumbs

If you ever wondered why an issue that is desired by the vast majority of Americans (like background checks on gun sales) doesn't get made into law - or - why the richest country in the world has crumbling infrastructure from neglect - or - why was it so important to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy and mega corporations at the same time that 90% of Americans have not seen their wealth grow in 40 years, this book is for you.

This book answers those and many other similar questions.

Something is not right when the top 10% wealthiest people in US own 85 - 90% of all stocks. Roughly the top .1% (not 1%) own as much as the bottom 90% of Americans. Richest .1% (the top 10% of the top 1%) wealth = The wealth of every American who is not part of the top 10% combined. It's been checked by Polifact.

Just read it, listen to it, borrow it from a friend or library! Then tell a friend or relative about it. For more insight into why a philanthropy economy is not the answer to this inequality, I recommend Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas.

This is information that everyone in America should know and hold their representatives accountable when they do not serve the interest of the vast majority of Americans. If we want a better country for all but the top 1%, we need to get involved. The book does end with some strategies to help improve this very unjust rigged economy.

(Hmmmm, I wonder why this book has not been listed with other New Releases portion of this site. Oh, yeah, now I get it.)

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-03-20

Depressing

Mr. Reich did an excellent job with the voice work
The pacing of the book was good for the most part, some sections were a little heavy with statistics and numbers all at once. The overall message didn't leave me feeling hopefully or inspired to fight back. This book has left me feeling helpless and at the mercy of corrupt, evil and cruel men and women. I'd honestly advise against listening to or reading the book if you know little about our political system. I would just bask in ignorance and happiness instead of suffering with this knowledge and possible enlightenment.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-06-20

A real eye opener

Reich provides a clear and compelling case for his claim that America now functions as an oligarchy and why every American should care. written before the pandemic and associated economic free fall it is perhaps more urgent to understand the facts and analysis he shares in this book than it was a year ago when he wrote it.

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  • martin
  • 28-05-20

A Must Listen

Robert Reich is one of the great minds of our time. This book lays out, in plain terms, how our political and economic systems are broken, the effects of this, and what must be done about it. It's a call to action!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-05-20

interesting ideas about our governmental system

the more I hear from Robert Reich the more I agree and respect his views. His nation is easy to listen to and he presents his ideas in an organized manner. if this sounds to dull, it's not. it is entertaining. He has got me thinking about our system and must how it is run. A good listen.

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  • THP
  • 04-06-20

US oligarchy - eye opening

Listening to this book during the 2020 pandemic and George Floyd protests is surreal. That it was written and published before those events makes Robert B. Reich sound like a seer. One wants to go out and confront the oligarchy but at the same time spread the insight these chapters contain. Powerful.