The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise

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Overview

From Arthur C. Brooks, the President of the American Enterprise Institute, comes the follow-up to the hugely influential ,The Battle: a candid assessment of how mainstream America can take the philosophy of free enterprise and translate it into political action—restoring both our nation’s greatness and our own well-being in the process.

In the months leading up to the next presidential contest, free enterprise—that most integral of American values—will be a key focus of the ...

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The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise

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Overview

From Arthur C. Brooks, the President of the American Enterprise Institute, comes the follow-up to the hugely influential ,The Battle: a candid assessment of how mainstream America can take the philosophy of free enterprise and translate it into political action—restoring both our nation’s greatness and our own well-being in the process.

In the months leading up to the next presidential contest, free enterprise—that most integral of American values—will be a key focus of the debate. As Brooks argued in The Battle, America today is a nation divided between those who support free enterprise, and those who favor big government and redistributionism. Research shows that 70 percent of Americans fall into the first camp—and yet, in recent years, our government has moved in the opposite direction. The Obama administration has used the economic crisis as an opportunity to curtail free enterprise and impose, in its place, a series of far-reaching socialist initiatives that misrepresent the principles of most Americans, and which fly in the face of the values upon which our country’s greatness rests: earned success, human flourishing, equality of opportunity, and basic fairness.

In The Road to Freedom, Brooks lays out a concrete, actionable plan for shoring up America’s core economic values though public policy. Detailing the initiatives that will solve our debt problems, prepare for the future in an uncertain environment, unleash the entrepreneurs in our society, and guarantee American leadership in the world, The Road to Freedom will shape the 2012 election conversation as powerfully as its predecessor did the 2010 midterms. A manifesto for 2012 and beyond, The Road to Freedom explains free enterprise as a moral imperative for America, and translates that imperative into tangible policies that will help politicians set America back on its rightful course.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
American Enterprise Institute president Brooks (The Battle) weaves a paean to the free enterprise system, calling it more efficient than and morally superior to the alternatives, and uses shaky though well-documented generalizations and anecdotal evidence to justify his credo. He argues that the average person in 1800 had the standard of living of his Stone Age counterpart and that Americans are happiest working 50–59 hours per week at jobs that “the vast majority” like. Free enterprise, according to Brooks, offers superior opportunity for “what all people truly crave: earned success.” In this sense, it eclipses both statism and the meretricious practice of corporate cronyism. Paradoxically, although Americans endorse the virtues of free enterprise and limited government, he writes, the bipartisan slide of recent decades toward big government has blinded us to the inroads of statism. Brooks seeks to defang the most rabid of partisan arguments (“Even hardline conservatives don’t object to minimum basic protections for poor people”) while asserting that the “safety net” has become too broad. Though Brooks aims to present arguments for policy reform, more specifics on how to break through the thickets along the way would have given this treatise more substance. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
American Enterprise Institute president Brooks' follow-up to The Battle: How the Fight Between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America's Future (2010). The author presents his argument in two parts: "Making the Moral Case for Free Enterprise" and "Applying the Moral Case for Free Enterprise." In the first, Brooks portrays America as "an opportunity society" and uses studies of mobility between income classes to show that neither the poor nor the rich must remain as they are. This allows him to argue that U.S. income inequality is actually beneficial because "the moral rejoinder about the fairness of rewarding merit through free enterprise will carry the day." He also defends a "minimum safety net" not as a means to increase material equality but as a way to preserve "access to basic medical care, sufficient food and basic shelter." Brooks writes that the safety net should still be available for American citizens most in need and would include food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. In the second section, the author insists that the primary concern should be fixing the debt problem, which means dealing with "out of control entitlement spending." Brooks contends that entitlements should be a basic safety net for the poor and not a source of retirement benefits for everybody. "The system should encourage people to work longer, retire later, and save more, so they can take care of themselves without resorting to the safety net," he writes. If entitlements are cut in the way the author suggests, foreigners will invest in America and recovery will be possible. Brooks does not consider the 2008 financial crisis and its great affect on such confidence. Another restatement of the views associated with neoconservatives, freshening up the packaging but not the substance.
From the Publisher
"It is true, but insufficient, to argue that free enterprise makes us better off. Arthur Brooks makes the indispensable point that it also makes us better. Having stumbled far down the road to serfdom, we are much in need of Brooks' trenchant case for a change of course." —-P. J. O'Rourke
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465029402
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 5/8/2012
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 165,097
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur C. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a non-partisan public policy think tank in Washington, D.C. committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise. He is the author of eight books, including The Battle, Gross National Happiness, and Who Really Cares. Until 2009, Brooks was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University, where his research focused on the intersections of economics, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. Previously, Brooks spent 12 years as a professional French hornist with the City Orchestra of Barcelona and other ensembles. He is a native of Seattle and currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife Ester and their three children.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 8, 2012

    The best summation of the moral case for capitalism

    There has been no other book in my experience that best explains the moral case for capitalism and how it has enriched and made better the lives of everyone the world over who has adopted it.

    Arthur Brook clearly and succinctly displays this with good logic, humor, examples and compelling reading. This book is a must-read for conservatives and libertarians alike.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2013

    Jordan and Kato

    *Prepare their equipment.*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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