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The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Revolutionary Thinking for a New Age of Prosperity

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Overview

“Offers the most plausible way to renovate our political and policy thinking to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.”—Joe Klein, Time

America is at a crossroads. The global economic downturn that began in 2008 has laid bare the structural weakness of our economy, putting the country through its most severe test since the Great Depression. Yet our political and business leaders have failed to prepare us because they are in the grip of a set of “dead ideas” about how a modern economy should work. Even the proponents of “change” in the Obama administration remain tentative in pushing the boundaries of the conventional wisdom.

But as Matt Miller shows in this provocative and influential analysis, the American economy will turn the corner only if we move beyond these outdated ways of thinking and recognize the ascendance of a new set of “destined ideas” that will reinvigorate our economy, our politics, and our day-to-day lives. And in a new preface, Miller shows how today’s financial crisis has finally stripped these dead ideas of their power, offering hope for a durable recovery.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Matt Miller writes and thinks with amazing clarity about some of the most difficult problems this country is facing. The Tyranny of Dead Ideas offers the most plausible way to renovate our political and policy thinking to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century — if we have the guts to go forward. This is must reading for the next president and for anyone who wants to be a creative citizen in a difficult time."—Joe Klein, political columnist, Time

"This book will make you the most valuable contributor to your next workplace discussion of politics or the economy. Matt Miller explains the history of ideas in a way that forces fresh insights about the future. I feel smarter already."—Chip Heath, author of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

"With crisp prose and compelling arguments, Matt Miller overturns orthodoxies left and right. Whatever your political persuasion, you will agree that The Tyranny of Dead Ideas is a tour de force — the rare book that can reshape the national agenda."—Daniel H. Pink, author of A Whole New Mind

"To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, our times are piled high with difficulty, and just as we must act anew we must think anew. Matt Miller is one of those few, invaluable voices who is able to reach beyond the truisms of yesterday to help us think anew about tomorrow. I warmly recommend his pathbreaking new book The Tyranny of Dead Ideas."David Gergen, director of the Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University, and senior political analyst, CNN

"In The Tyranny of Dead Ideas, Matt Miller drives a bulldozer into the complacent conventional wisdoms of our society, including the desirability of free trade, of paternalistic corporations, and even of low taxes. You need not agree with every idea to be invigorated by Miller’s bold and original vision."Philip K. Howard, author of The Death of Common Sense and Life Without Lawyers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805091502
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/19/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Matt Miller is the author of The Two Percent Solution: Fixing America’s Problems in Ways Liberals and Conservatives Can Love, which was a Los Angeles Times bestseller. He is a contributing editor at Fortune; a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; the host of public radio’s popular week-in-review program Left, Right & Center; and a consultant to corporations, governments, and nonprofits. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition: Still Stuck xi

Introduction: Trapped 1

Part 1 Today's Dead Ideas

1 The Kids Will Earn More Than We Do 17

2 Free Trade Is "Good" (No Matter How Many People Get Hurt) 39

3 Your Company Should Take Care of You 62

4 Taxes Hurt the Economy (and They're Always Too High) 84

5 Schools Are a Local Matter 108

6 Money Follows Merit 131

7 The Tyranny of Dead Ideas 144

Part 2 Tomorrow's Destined Ideas

8 Only Government Can Save Business 157

9 Only Business Can Save Liberalism 169

10 Only Higher Taxes Can Save the Economy (and the Planet) 181

11 Only the (Lower) Upper Class Can Save Us from Inequality 190

12 Only Better Living Can Save Sagging Paychecks 198

13 Only a Dose of "Nationalization" Can Save Local Schools 207

14 Only Lessons from Abroad Can Save American Ideals 217

15 From Dead to Destined Ideas 224

Afterword: Burying Dead Ideas in Business and Beyond 231

Acknowledgments 243

Index 247

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