Some friends and I serendipitously started reading the same book at the same time. So we did what anyone would do and started a book club on politics, economics, and philosophy. The book was Robert Reich’s Saving Capitalism.
Capitalist, or Closet Socialist?
Certainly, Reich must be a capitalist if he’s writing a book on saving it. And he never mentions seizing the means of production, so he can’t be a socialist. But a lot of his prescribed methods of saving capitalism look mighty close to something Marx would be okay with. And he often glides over the source of all the reasons that we need to save capitalism in the first place, something Marx would not be okay with. There are plenty of reasons, though. More on that later. Anywho, I found myself wanting him to dive deeper into the difference between the two. Maybe he was afraid that it would turn away his audience?
Who Are You Writing To?
I don’t think the book was preaching to the choir because I don’t really know who the choir even is. I’d be interested to see many other people’s interpretation of this book. Would a libertarian free-market capitalist agree with his points about needing to fix the system? Or would they say it should fix itself, which is contrary to the main message of the book? Would an anarcho-socialist think he is crazy for trying to save a system of wage slavery? Or would they see it as a few steps in the right direction, at least?
How Broke Is Too Broke?
If you have a light constitution and swoon in the face of insurmountable odds to fix systemic inequality, then this book might not be for you. Chapter after chapter, statistic after case study, Reich really hammers home on the point that capitalism as we know it is more than a little borked. Some days I didn’t even want to go to book club because it seemed like too much work. Why bother? But I stuck it out, because it’s better than lying down and taking it. And if we don’t fix it now, it’ll only get worse.
So, yeah. It’s a bit depressing. But it lit a fire under my ass to do something about it.