American Gridlock: Why the Right and Left Are Both Wrong - Commonsense 101 Solutions to the Economic Crises

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Wiley, Dec 19, 2011 - Business & Economics - 304 pages
2 Reviews
A sensible solution to getting our economy back on track

Pessimism is ubiquitous throughout the Western World as the pressing issues of massive debt, high unemployment, and anemic economic growth divide the populace into warring political camps. Right-and Left-wing ideologues talk past each other, with neither side admitting the other has any good ideas. In American Gridlock, leading economist and political theorist H. Woody Brock bridges the Left/Right divide, illuminating a clear path out of our economic quagmire.

Arguing from first principles and with rigorous logic, Brock demonstrates that the choice before us is not between free market capitalism and a government-driven economy. Rather, the solution to our problems will require enactment of constructive policies that allow "true" capitalism to flourish even as they incorporate social policies that help those who truly need it.

Brock demonstrates how deductive logic (as opposed to ideologically driven data analysis) can transform the way we think about these problems and lead us to new and different solutions that cross the ideological divide. Drawing on new theories such as game theory and the economics of uncertainty that are based upon deductive logic, Brock reveals fresh ideas for tackling issues central to the 2012 U.S, Presidential election and to the nation’s long-run future:

  • Demonstrating that the concept of a government “deficit” is highly problematic since it blinds us to the distinction between a good deficit and a bad deficit – where a deficit is good if it results from borrowing dedicated to productive investment rather than to unproductive spending.
  • Deriving the need for a U.S. Marshall Plan dedicated to very high levels of profitable infrastructure spending as the solution to today’s Lost Decade of high unemployment
  • Drawing upon a logical extension of the Law of Supply and Demand to demonstrate how the health-care spending crisis can be completely resolved by letting supply increase at a faster rate than demand
  • Utilizing the theory of bargaining inaugurated by the “Beautiful Mind” mathematician John F. Nash, Jr., to help us avoid being repeatedly duped in our negotiations with China
  • Making use of a completely new theory of market risk recently developed at Stanford University to demonstrate why dramatically limiting leverage is the key reform to preventing future Perfect Storms, whereas hoping to banish “greed” amounts to whistling Dixie
  • Deducting from first principles a solution to the contentious issue of fair shares of the economic pie, a solution that integrates the two fundamental norms of “to each according to his contribution” and “to each according to his need.”

Profound, timely and important, American Gridlock cuts through the stale biases of the Right and Left, advances new ways of thinking, and provides creative solutions to the problems that threaten American society.

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User Review  - ktp50 - LibraryThing

Was okay. I was expecting some sort of deep penetrating insight about todays most vexing political issues (social security, healthcare, foreign relations). However the book was mostly a summary level ... Read full review

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Three little words: "Read this book!" American Gridlock deserves to be ranked as both "Required" and "Highly Recommended" on every well-informed American's reading list in this election year. Put simply, American Gridlock should be "Required Reading" because its purpose and contents could not be more timely or important. In it, H. Woody Brock, one of the best and bravest economic, social, and political thinkers at work today, tackles several of the most significant problems confronting the US and much of the world. Problems like the continuing threat of financial "perfect storms'" devastating the global economy, or the impending head-on collision between staggering needs and staggering costs in health care.
Brock does not simply identify the causes or predict the consequences of major problems like these; he also blends a deep knowledge of economics, mathematics, philosophy, and history with rigorous deductive reasoning to create workable solutions. "Workable" means more than demonstrably sound and practical; it also means actually acceptable to (rational) people at both ends of American's badly "gridlocked" political spectrum.
Along with "Required Reading," American Gridlock deserves to be judged "Highly Recommended"--and for three good reasons. First, American Gridlock is the work of an authentic theorist (not a number cruncher--an original thinker!) who is, at the same time, a seasoned and sophisticated businessman. Second, American Gridlock shines a strong and clarifying light on the sorts of critical problems that we must not fail to analyze rigorously, understand thoroughly, and address collaboratively. (The costs of failure will be high indeed.) Third, American Gridlock is clearly intended for a broad range of readers. In other words, readers need not be experts in the economic, political, or social sciences. Brock's lucid, candid, accessible, and often very witty writing means that readers simply need be citizens concerned about our collective future--especially in 2012, as we prepare ourselves to choose the most powerful leader in the world.
--Richard Trenner, Principal of Advanced Communication Training, Princeton, NJ, and former Lecturer in Public and International Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School (

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About the author (2011)

H. Woody Brock is President and founder of Strategic Economic Decisions (SED), Inc., a firm that provides economic and financial market analysis to financial institutions, corporations, and investors. He has authored numerous Op-Ed pieces in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, and a variety of professional journals, and speaks regularly at investment conferences and forums. He is known worldwide as a speaker and writer adept at taking complex ideas and theories and expressing them logically and clearly. Brock was elected an Andrew Mellon Foundation Bicentennial Fellow of the Aspen Institute. He earned his BA, MBA, and MS (in mathematics) from Harvard University, and his MA and PhD from Princeton University.

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