10 things I learned from Adrift: America in 100 Charts by Scott Galloway (Author)
Scott Galloway is a very interesting guy and an entertaining speaker. Multimillionaire Silicon Valley guy turned NYU professor.
This is a book written with 100 diagrams. It is pretty short but covers a lot of ground. I first listened to the audiobook and got the .pdf to see the charts.
The main theory is that at the present time 2022, America is adrift. People are lonely and there are economic, educational and medical disparities.
One of the author's main premises is that the middle class acted like ballast in a ship to keep The economy stable and growing.
I took a lot of notes and Chat GPT did a good job summarizing them:
1. State of America (2022):
The U.S. is currently adrift with loneliness, and notable economic, educational, and medical disparities. The middle class, which arose post-WWII and stabilized the economy, began declining in the 1970s as wealth accumulated with the rich.
2. Reliance on the Stock Market and Debt
Over-reliance on stock market value, especially with 401(k)s, has become problematic. The U.S. debt has grown substantially, with the Reagan era seeing a significant increase, and currently standing at 120% of GDP. [Note: only half of the US has any stock and the great majority is controlled by the wealthiest 5%]
3. Decreased infrastructure spending, in relation to GDP, adversely impacts the middle class, affecting essential services like roads and water supply.
4. Wage Disparity
Workers' productivity has risen without corresponding wage increases. Inflation-adjusted wages have been stagnant since the 1970s, with wage growth for the top 1% substantially outpacing the bottom 99%.
5. Complex tax systems benefit large corporations and the wealthy who exploit these systems, with many corporations booking profits in foreign tax havens.
6. Global Changes
World poverty has reduced significantly, and the global GDP has witnessed tenfold growth from 1950 to 2015. Innovations like shipping containerization and computing power have revolutionized industries.
7. Tech Powerhouses:
The pandemic concentrated wealth and power in major tech companies like Meta, Apple, Amazon, and Google. Simultaneously, costs for education, medical care, and rent have increased relative to income since 1995.
8. Digital Media Influence
Algorithms on social platforms amplify negative content, with falsehoods spreading faster than the truth. This distortion affects public perceptions, such as those related to crime rates: [around 70% of people think that it gets worse every year but actual crimes per 1000 people has declined from 76:1000 to 20:1000.]
9. International Relations
The U.S. spends significantly on defense, whereas other countries like China dominate in sectors like clean energy minerals. Concerns are raised about major companies, like Facebook, facing minimal repercussions for significant privacy violations.
10. Reform Proposals
Galloway suggests various reforms, including a one-time wealth tax, the expansion of financial aid to underprivileged children, increased seats in higher education, and broader national service opportunities beyond just the military.