The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People - and the Fight for Our Future

The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People - and the Fight for Our Future

by Alec Ross

Narrated by Alec Ross

Unabridged — 9 hours, 23 minutes

The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People - and the Fight for Our Future

The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People - and the Fight for Our Future

by Alec Ross

Narrated by Alec Ross

Unabridged — 9 hours, 23 minutes

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This program is read by the author.

In the face of unprecedented global change, New York Times bestselling author Alec Ross proposes a new social contract to restore the balance of power between government, citizens, and business in The Raging 2020s.

For 150 years, there has been a contract. Companies hold the power to shape our daily lives. The state holds the power to make them fall in line. And the people hold the power to choose their leaders. But now, this balance has shaken loose.

As the market consolidates, the lines between big business and the halls of Congress have become razor-thin. Private companies have become as powerful as countries. As Walter Isaacson said about Alec Ross's first book, The Industries of the Future, “The future is already hitting us, and Ross shows how it can be exciting rather than frightening.”

Through interviews with the world's most influential thinkers and stories of corporate activism and malfeasance, government failure and renewal, and innovative economic and political models, Ross proposes a new social contract-one that resets the equilibrium between corporations, the governing, and the governed.

A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Company

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


The social contract functions best when the relationship between government, citizens, and private companies sits in balance—and that balance has been thrown way off, according to this trenchant survey. Former Obama adviser Ross (The Industries of the Future) writes that the rights and responsibilities of individuals need to be rebalanced with those of states and corporations because globalization, deregulation, and the climate crisis have changed the state of the world, and things are only getting worse as inequality grows. Ross describes the chilling effects of “shareholder capitalism,” which prioritizes shareholder profit over all other goals, as well as what can happen when private companies step in when the government fails or falters—as when Walmart proved that “major retailers can use their leverage to force a product off the shelves much faster than the government can” when it began pushing eco-friendly products in 2007. Things could get better, Ross writes, by 2030, and to that end he suggests reforms including a four-day workweek, reasonable social safety nets, and fair compensation. But, he warns, “if nothing changes, rage will be the defining quality of the 2020s.” This disquieting look is a must-read for anyone looking to understand the present moment. (Sept.)

From the Publisher

A Bloomberg Businessweek Best Book of 2021
Featured in Kirkus’s “150 Most Anticipated Fall Books” and Adam Grant’s “10 New Leadership Books to Wrap Up Summer and Kick Off Fall”

“An engaging, compelling, thought-provoking book, filled with astute analysis, but also with very clear recommendations about what we need to be doing going forward if we are to escape some of the many problems and traps that [Ross] outlines so effectively in The Raging 2020s…This is very much a global book...The way that [Ross connects] the pieces of this puzzle are very important.”
—Hillary Rodham Clinton

“Ross’s from above, not the view of the people nor even the politicians…an immensely (and unusually) readable account.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Alec Ross fearlessly confronts one of the fundamental concerns of our time: fixing the broken social contract between people, business, and government. His book will challenge you to rethink some of your assumptions about democracy, capitalism, and globalization.”
Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of THINK AGAIN and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

“Ross…astutely captures the changing landscape of society, documenting through real-life examples and engaging storytelling how the balance between individuals, business, and government has shifted…[T]he stories throughout the book challenge our assumption of how we think the world works—or should work—while laying out fresh ideas for a new direction forward.”
Bloomberg Businessweek

“This book is special. At a time when uncertainty fills every conversation and our recent history has left so many vulnerable, The Raging 2020s doesn’t just add clarity, it offers direction. Alec leaves the reader with both understanding and hope in a way not many can, and he continues to show why he is one of the foremost thinkers of our time. This book helps set the direction our society should follow.”
Wes Moore, author, combat veteran, and social entrepreneur

“Alec Ross is a keen analyst and brilliant storyteller. The Raging 2020s introduces us to the people whose lives are blighted by unconscionable policies and concentrations of power, helping us understand and indeed share the rage that fuels many 21st century political movements. Best of all, Ross is willing to speak truth to power in recommending a set of bold but realistic solutions.”
Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America Foundation, and Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University

“A gripping, illuminating chronicle that provides a wonderful birds-eye view from the heights of government and international business, that solidifies Ross’s position among the most visionary of global thinkers on the future of technology and its implications, and that also is an amazingly enjoyable, page-turning read!”
General David Petraeus, former Director of the CIA and former Commander of the Surge in Iraq, US Central Command, and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan

A provocative, well-made case for remaking the American way of doing business—and way of life.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This disquieting look is a must-read for anyone looking to understand the present moment.”
Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

In serious disarray, the social contract requires a significant overhaul.

Early on in this manifesto, Ross, the senior adviser for innovation for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, makes a stark observation: “If the level of inequality in the United States had stayed at a constant level over the last forty years instead of widening to its current Mad Max–like state, it would have meant that $50 trillion would have gone to workers earning below the 90th percentile. That is an additional $1,100 every single month for every single worker.” Instead, we now squabble over raising the absurdly low minimum wage to only slightly less pathetic levels. A large part of the problem, notes the author, is that government has ceded authority to corporations, which naturally act in their own interest rather than for the common good. Furthermore, there is no effective labor movement to counter them. Corporations also evade taxes at such a level that if they paid their share, “of the people reading this book, 99 percent would pay less.” Ross examines scenarios on both macro and micro levels. In writing of the corporatization of agriculture, for example, he focuses on his native state of West Virginia, where the population has shrunk dramatically as rural jobs disappear. Even as this occurs, what should have been a strong union response has become an exercise in rural politics that is increasingly “nativist as [West Virginia] has grown poorer and sicker.” There are numerous alternative models for a social contract besides that of predatory capitalism. One is that of China, which “seeks to build a surveillance state so total that it becomes impossible for citizens to organize meaningful opposition,” and another is the cradle-to-grave welfare state of the Scandinavian nations. At the end of this evenhanded but decidedly liberal argument, the author advocates “killing off shareholder capitalism” and strengthening social safety nets.

A provocative, well-made case for remaking the American way of doing business—and way of life.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940173046161
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication date: 09/14/2021
Edition description: Unabridged
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