What Went Wrong: How the 1% Hijacked the American Middle Class . . . and What Other Countries Got Right

What Went Wrong: How the 1% Hijacked the American Middle Class . . . and What Other Countries Got Right

by George R. Tyler


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Something has gone seriously wrong with the American economy.

The American economy has experienced considerable growth in the last 30 years. But virtually none of this growth has trickled down to the average American. Incomes have been flat since 1985. Inequality has grown, and social mobility has dropped dramatically. Equally troubling, these policies have been devastating to both American productivity and our long-term competitiveness.

Many reasons for these failures have been proposed. Globalization. Union greed. Outsourcing.

But none of these explanations can address the harsh truth that many countries around the world are dramatically outperforming the U.S. in delivering broad middle-class prosperity. And this is despite the fact that these countries are more exposed than America to outsourcing and globalization and have much higher levels of union membership.

In What Went Wrong, George R. Tyler, a veteran of the World Bank and the Treasury Department, takes the reader through an objective and data-rich examination of the American experience over the last 30 years. He provides a fascinating comparison between the America and the experience of the “family capitalism” countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

Over the last 30 years, they have outperformed the U.S. economy by the only metric that really matters—delivering better lives for their citizens. The policies adopted by the family capitalist countries aren’t socialist or foreign. They are the same policies that made the U.S. economy of the 1950s and 1960s the strongest in the world.

What Went Wrong describes exactly what went wrong with the American economy, how countries around the world have avoided these problems, and what we need to do to get back on the right track.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781937856717
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
Publication date: 07/16/2013
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 749,691
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.00(d)

About the Author

George R. Tyler has a diverse background,drawing on his broad experiences at the highest levels of government, at the World Bank, in the private sector, and in the international nonprofit sector for What Went Wrong. Trained as an economist, Tyler served on the staffs of senators Hubert H. Humphrey and Lloyd Bentsen early in his career and was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 as a deputy assistant treasury secretary. He subsequently served as counselor at the World Bank which marked the beginning of his international career.

Tyler has expansive private sector experience as founder and CEO of a real estate investment and development firm, creating a number of resort residential and residential subdivisions in Virginia, a role he continues to play. He gained international experience from heavy involvement in the global nonprofit sector, where his important familiarity with the European corporate culture occurred. In 1999, Tyler was co-author of the concept paper adopted by Paris-based Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to develop a medical research capability for diseases of the developing world neglected by the global pharmaceutical industry. The not-for-profit entity is called the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative. As a founding consultant to MSF, Tyler was a member of the Working Group. He subsequently served on the DNDI Audit Committee overseeing budget and other issues.

Table of Contents

Section 1 The Beginning 1

Chapter 1 Facing Reality 3

Chapter 2 What Is Reaganomics? 14

Chapter 3 The Triumph of Family Capitalism 46

Section 2 The Shift 65

Chapter 4 Regulatory Capture 67

Chapter 5 Shareholder Capitalism 96

Chapter 6 A Culture of Selfishness 122

Chapter 7 Short-Termism 147

Chapter 8 Small Government Hypocrisy 180

Chapter 9 Tax Cut Cultists 189

Chapter 10 "Deficits Don't Matter" 199

Chapter 11 Illusory Prosperity 213

Chapter 12 Economic Mythmaking 224

Section 3 The Results 251

Chapter 13 Wages Rise in Family Capitalism 253

Chapter 14 The Gains from Growth 271

Chapter 15 Income Disparity 281

Chapter 16 The Opportunity Societies of Stakeholder Capitalism 287

Chapter 17 Australian-Style Wage Determination in Family Capitalism 307

Chapter 18 Globalization Can Be a Boon or a Bane 318

Chapter 19 How Family Capitalism Prospered from Globalization 326

Chapter 20 Offshoring and the Apple Problem 344

Chapter 21 Domestic Content and the Apple Problem 354

Chapter 22 Productivity and Investment 365

Chapter 23 Deindustrializing America Marks the Reagan Decline 381

Chapter 24 Poverty 401

Chapter 25 Delayed American Retirement 409

Chapter 26 Incentivizing and Rewarding Work 414

Section 4 Recovery 425

Chapter 27 Rebuilding the American Dream 427

Chapter 28 American Family Capitalism 440

Acknowledgments 469

Endnotes 471

Index 543

About the Author 563

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