Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich, a co-founder of The American Prospect, is a Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. His website can be found here and his blog can be found here.

Recent Articles

In Kosovo, Power of Tribe Outweighs Power of Technology

USA Today This week, as Congress reconvenes, President Clinton will be coming under increasing criticism for the inadequacies of NATO's bombing campaign. But the favored alternative - a ground war - is something for which we are wholly unprepared. It's not just a matter of military tactics; it's a question of national will. There are two great opposing forces in the world today. The first is technology. The second is tribalism. Technology is based on knowledge, rationality and invention. Tribalism is based on passion, ethnicity and myth. We like to think that technology is about the future, and tribalism about the distant past. Both of these great forces have been at work in the Balkans. So far, the United States and its NATO allies have waged a technological war - replete with Stealth bombers, computer-guided cruise missiles and digital satellite imaging. Serbia is waging a tribal war. President...

Three-legged trick to square vicious circle of job losses

The Guardian The central reality of our age is that globalisation and technological change have increased the demand for people with the right education, skills, and connections - and reduced the demand for those without them. The bottom third of our citizens are either paid less or have fewer job opportunities than before. The top third are doing fine. The middle third are just getting by. Different nations have responded in different ways. In the United States, there are lots of new jobs, but the wages of the bottom third continue to drop, while people at the top have never done as well. In France and Germany, the bottom third are either unemployed or in constant danger of being so, but inequality is not nearly as wide as in America. Britain stands between the two extremes. So here is the big question: are all advanced economies condemned to be somewhere on this line running from...

Scrooge is Alive and Well and Living in America

Broadcast December 21, 2000 You may remember old Scrooge wasn't happy he had to give his clerk in the counting house time off for Christmas. "A poor excuse for picking a man s pocket every twenty-fifth of December! But I suppose you must have the whole day," he said. "Be here all the earlier next morning." Well, we've progressed a bit since those days, maybe. Most working Americans have a three-day weekend coming up. About 1 in 4 will have four days. And a fortunate few will take all of next week. On the other hand, if you happen to work for one of those 24/7 call centers, you may have to work on Christmas Day. Security guards will be at their stations. Many convenience store operators, too. Also hospital staffs, caterers, hotel personnel, emergency repairers of all kinds, fire fighters, police officers, even the staff at Marketplace. Even you, with your long holiday weekend coming up, may be tempted at some point to turn on the home computer and get some work done. The dirty little...

Working, But Not 'Employed'

The New York Times CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Linda Chavez, George W. Bush's pick for labor secretary, withdrew as the nominee Tuesday after facing a blizzard of questions concerning Marta Mercado, a Guatemalan woman who, as an undocumented alien, lived in Chavez's home during the early 1990s and did some work for the family. Chavez didn't pay Social Security taxes on Mercado's labors. Have we been here before? No, said Chavez. She never actually employed Mercado. The entire transaction between them amounted to nothing more than the woman's doing a few chores around the house and getting in return some "spending money" - no more than a couple of thousand dollars. A spokesman for Chavez said it was just a matter of helping someone "down on her luck." The distinction Chavez appeared to make turns on a definition - as do so many other pertinent legal distinctions these days. Is someone who receives free rent and a few thousand dollars for doing chores around your home an "employee" under the...

Clinton's Leap in the Dark

from the New York Times Literary Supplement Review of Robert M. Solow's "Work and Welfare" by Robert B. Reich When during his 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton vowed to "end welfare as we know it" by moving people "from welfare to work", he presumably did not have in mind the legislation which he signed into law in August 1996. The original idea had been to smooth the passage from welfare to work with guaranteed health care, child care, job training and a job paying enough to live on. As a result, former welfare recipients would gain dignity and independence, and society as a whole would have the benefit of their labours. The 1996 legislation contained none of these supports — no health care or child care for people coming off welfare, no job training, no assurance of a job paying a living wage, nor, for that matter, of a job at any wage. In effect, what was dubbed welfare "reform" merely ended the...

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