The Common Good

Knopf. Feb. 2018. 208p. illus. ISBN 9780525520498. $22.95; ebk. ISBN 9780525520504. POL SCI
OrangeReviewStarFormer U.S. secretary of labor (1993–97) Reich (Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, Univ. of California, Berkeley; Saving Capitalism) examines what he sees as a divided America. His takeoff point is the call made 50 years ago by President John F. Kennedy for Americans to contribute individually for the common good. Reich despairs that instead Americans have become increasingly selfish. He harshly criticizes the freebooting of CEOs, the self-first philosophy of Ayn Rand, and the divisive presidency of Donald Trump. He chronicles societal changes that he says have resulted in national disunity, distrust, and hopelessness. Reich concludes that pulling together as a society is the only strategy for longterm mutual prosperity and that leaders must act as trustees for the common good. That those who do the right thing should be honored, and those who gain by underhanded means shamed, that fact-based truth must be demanded, and citizens must be both educated and engaged.
VERDICT Very timely with discussion of the sexual harassment scandal in Hollywood and NFL kneeling protests, Reich's work is an important call for reform that should appeal to a wide audience disaffected with the status quo.

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