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The Great Equalizer: How Main Street Capitalism Can Create an Economy for Everyone
     

The Great Equalizer: How Main Street Capitalism Can Create an Economy for Everyone

by David Smick
 

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The experts say that America's best days are behind us, that mediocre long-term economic growth is baked in the cake, and that politically, socially, and racially, the United States will continue to tear itself apart. But David Smick—hedge fund strategist and author of the 2008 bestseller The World Is Curved—argues that the experts are wrong

Overview


The experts say that America's best days are behind us, that mediocre long-term economic growth is baked in the cake, and that politically, socially, and racially, the United States will continue to tear itself apart. But David Smick—hedge fund strategist and author of the 2008 bestseller The World Is Curved—argues that the experts are wrong.

In recent decades, a Corporate Capitalism of top down mismanagement and backroom deal-making has smothered America's innovative spirit. Policy now favors the big, the corporate, and the status quo at the expense of the small, the inventive, and the entrepreneurial. The result is that working and middle class Americans have seen their incomes flat-lining and their American Dreams slipping away. In response, Smick calls for the great equalizer, a Main Street Capitalism of mass small-business startups and bottom-up innovation, all unfolding on a level playing field. Introducing a fourteen-point plan of bipartisan reforms for unleashing America's creativity and confidence, his forward-thinking book describes a new climate of dynamism where every man and woman is a potential entrepreneur—especially those at the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.

Ultimately, Smick argues, economies are more than statistical measurements of supply and demand, economic output, and rates of return. Economies are people—their hopes, fears, dreams, and expectations. The Great Equalizer is a call for a set of new paradigms that inspire and empower average American people to reimagine and reboot their economy. It is a manifesto asserting that, with a new kind of economic policy, America's best days lie ahead.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/07/2016
Smick (The World Is Curved), an investment advisor and former Capitol Hill staffer, makes a thoughtful, if buzzword-laden, plea for an economy-wide shift from mammoth companies to plucky startups. Writing that “the economic system is rigged,” he sketches in a system in which big banks and the government favor established behemoths over nimble, innovative newcomers. He goes on to say that the U.S. has had too much Wall Street–style capitalism (financial engineering) and not enough Main Street–style capitalism (innovation). Smick presents a 14-point plan of bipartisan reforms for reorienting the U.S. toward smaller, gutsier businesses, covering topics such as the “illusion of certainty,” the financial crisis and big banks, competition with China, and secular stagnation. Getting surprisingly emotional given the financial theme, he focuses heavily on how Americans have felt after the 2008 crash, arguing that, contrary to popular opinion, “America’s best days are yet to come.” The book’s stumbling block is its obsession with America’s view of itself, which leads the author to rely on a number of clichés, such as the idea of entitled, complacent millennials and Internet-drunk young people who can no longer communicate properly. Nonetheless, this call to arms regarding the need to get audacious and adventurous about U.S. economic growth is a thought-provoking, entertaining read. Agent: Jim Levine, Levine Greenberg Agency. (Jan.)
Library Journal
★ 01/01/2017
Financial market advisor and best-selling author Smick (chairman & CEO, advisory firm Johnson Smick International; The World Is Curved) draws on 40 years of professional experience to explain how current slow U.S. economic growth can be accelerated through entrepreneurial innovation. Smick acknowledges that innovation is disruptive, but that in post-2008 America, government has created a risk-adverse climate that has stifled innovation in favor of too-big-to-fail banks and corporations. The 2016 populist political movement in both parties, he says, reflects the growing dissatisfaction of average Americans with the status quo. Smick identifies threats such as excessive public debt (mostly owing to entitlements), an overleveraged China, and deglobalization. His solution is to promote what he calls Main Street Capitalism where all enterprises compete on a level playing field, with minimal government interference, and the availability of capital to fund new growth opportunities. He offers specific suggestions for tax reform, improving education, and allowing more Americans to benefit from economic growth. VERDICT Written for a general audience and bursting with ideas, including a 14-point plan for the next U.S. president, Smick's persuasive and hopeful prescription to cure economic malaise should be popular with all readers, especially those who feel disenfranchised.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA
Kirkus Reviews
2016-11-20
The worst enemy of capitalism is…capitalism.That is one takeaway from financial adviser Smick (The World Is Curved: Hidden Dangers to the Global Economy, 2008), the founder and publisher of International Economy magazine. One of the lessons learned from the recent presidential election is that there is a hunger for populism in the United States, whether of an authoritarian or a libertarian nature. Thus the Bernie Sanders campaign, which held capitalism as an economic system to be the chief author of our woes. However, writes the author, the culprit is not so much the system of private profit for goods and services, but a global machine that has become much larger and more entrenched than anyone might ever have imagined. "In recent decades, a Corporate Capitalism of inside deal-making, elite special privilege, and dominance by large institutions has...exerted a stranglehold over the U.S. economy," writes Smick, going on to say that this kind of capitalism is not the kind that we ought to preserve. In its place the author advocates for "Main Street Capitalism," characterized by openness of access and entry and favoring entrepreneurship and small business, the historic engines of most economic growth. Smick is long on both diagnosis and prescription; he offers detailed notes, for instance, on how tax policy favors the big players, with a private equity firm on Wall Street paying 15 percent capital gains while a family-owned dry cleaner down the road would pay half that. Populist sentiment aside, and though there's really not a whole lot new here, the author is clearly on the side of capitalism against any other kind of -ism, in the interest of which he proposes a "14-point plan" that leverages political compromise, tax and educational reforms, a modest minimum wage hike, and other measures to level a playing field that is indisputably tilted. Is all this pie-in-the-sky thinking? Perhaps so, but Smick's call for a fairer capitalism makes for bracing reading for students of the modern economy and polity.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781610397841
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
01/10/2017
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,219
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author


David Smick is a financial market consultant and a nonfiction author. He is the chairman and CEO of Johnson Smick International, an advisory firm in Washington, D.C and the publisher and the founding editor of the quarterly magazine International Economy. He also published widely, including in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

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