When More Is Not Better: Overcoming America’s Obsession with Economic Efficiency

Roger L. Martin. Harvard Business Review, $30 (272p) ISBN 978-1-64782-006-0
Management consultant Martin (Creating Great Choices) makes a detailed argument that corporate America’s hyperfocus on efficiency and rising profits has put the nation’s “democratic capitalism” at risk. He cites evidence that U.S. economic growth increasingly benefits the affluent, leaving the poor and middle classes to fall further behind, even as they’re asked to work longer and harder hours. This state of affairs, Martin contends, has left America vulnerable to political instability and ripe for antidemocratic and anti-capitalist movements. He places the blame on business executives and political leaders who believe the economy should function as a finely tuned machine producing “linear” and “predictable” growth, rather than a “complex adaptive system” that requires continual monitoring and updating to ensure it continues to perform as promised. He identifies FDR’s New Deal reforms as an example of such tweaking, and makes his own proposals for reform, including tenure-based voting rights for stockholders and a progressive federal income tax rate that tops out at 65% for incomes above $10 million. Drawing from hard economic data and in-depth interviews with “regular Americans,” Martin makes a persuasive case for rethinking perceived wisdom about the economy. Policy makers and business leaders will want to take note. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/08/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-1-64782-007-7
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