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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

What the critics say

"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)

What listeners say about The System

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  • 2020-03-25

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!

18 people found this helpful

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  • Janice K.
  • 2020-03-25

Enlightening & insightful!

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

6 people found this helpful

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  • J. Piper
  • 2020-03-28

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.

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  • Taylor
  • 2020-03-26

great book

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

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  • Jane A. Burman
  • 2020-04-03

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • 2020-04-01

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
  • 2020-03-28

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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  • Steve Gundersen
  • 2020-10-13

jaw dropping, well written expose'

articulate and to the point, a must read for those wanting to unrig the system, and for all the CEOs.

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  • Joe C.
  • 2020-09-23

Courageous attempt to expose The Syatem

This is a very courageous attempt to expose The System. I learned a quite a few facts from this book like the political and economical systems of the United States function. Before listening to this book I thought that I understood how IS functioned as I have been following Dr Reich in social media and have read two previous books. This book is extraordinary and timely during the election year. It is scary to think that we are no longer a democracy but an oligarchy like Russia. He points out how we could defeat the oligarchy. Thank you Dr Reich.

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  • Leonie
  • 2020-09-12

Excellent Read!

Thank you so much Mr. Reich for writing this impartial, insightful and informative book. Knowledge of the truth will set us all free. This book is a must read for those trying to get a deeper understanding of the current political and economic climate in the US. Read and form an opinion for yourself, you don’t have to agree with everything written to gain at least some new insight from the book. I think most importantly, be willing and open to be exposed to viewpoints that differ from your current beliefs. Nothing is ever 100% as it seems.

1 person found this helpful