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

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

4.6 3
by Arthur C. Brooks
 

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Entrepreneurship, personal responsibility, and upward mobility: These traditions are at the heart of the free enterprise system, and have long been central to America’s exceptional culture. In recent years, however, policymakers have dramatically weakened these traditions—by exploding the size of government, propping up their corporate cronies, and

Overview


Entrepreneurship, personal responsibility, and upward mobility: These traditions are at the heart of the free enterprise system, and have long been central to America’s exceptional culture. In recent years, however, policymakers have dramatically weakened these traditions—by exploding the size of government, propping up their corporate cronies, and trying to reorient our system from rewarding merit to redistributing wealth.

In The Road to Freedom, American Enterprise Institute President Arthur C. Brooks shows that this trend cannot be reversed through materialistic appeals about the economic efficiency of capitalism. Rather, free enterprise requires a moral defense rooted in the ideals of earned success, equality of opportunity, charity, and basic fairness. Brooks builds this defense and demonstrates how it is central to understanding the major policy issues facing America today.

The future of the free enterprise system has become a central issue in our national debate, and Brooks offers a practical manual for defending it over the coming years. Both a moral manifesto and a prescription for concrete policy changes, The Road to Freedom will help Americans in all walks of life translate the philosophy of free enterprise into action, to restore both our nation’s greatness and our own well-being in the process.

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465029402
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
05/08/2012
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
614,908
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
16 - 18 Years

What People are Saying About This

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

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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The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Brandon More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*Prepare their equipment.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago