The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Letting Go of the Old Ways of Thinking to Unleash a New Prosperity

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Macmillan, Jan 6, 2009 - Business & Economics - 258 pages
6 Reviews

A leading political and business thinker identifies the greatest threat to our economic future: the things we think we know—but don’t

America is at a crossroads. In the face of global competition and rapid technological change, our economy is about to face its most severe test in nearly a century—one that will make the recent turmoil in the financial system look like a modest setback by comparison. Yet our leaders have failed to prepare us for what lies ahead because they are in the grip of a set of "dead ideas" about how a modern economy should work. They wrongly believe that

  • Our kids will earn more than we do
  • Free trade is always good, no matter who gets hurt
  • Employers should be responsible for health coverage
  • Taxes hurt the economy
  • Schools are a local matter
  • Money follows merit

These ways of thinking—dubious at best and often dead wrong—are on a collision course with economic developments that are irre-versible.

In The Tyranny of Dead Ideas, Matt Miller offers a unique blend of insights from history, psychology, and economics to illuminate where today’s destructive conventional wisdom came from and how it holds our country back. He also introduces us to a new way of thinking—what he calls "tomorrow’s destined ideas"—that can reinvigorate our economy, our politics, and our day-to-day lives. These destined ideas may seem counterintuitive now, but they will coalesce in the coming years in ways that will transform America.

A strikingly original assessment of our current dilemma and an indispensable guide to our future, Miller’s provocative and path-breaking book reveals why it is urgent that we break the tyranny of dead ideas, for it is only by doing so that we can move beyond the limits of today’s obsolete debates and reinvent American capitalism and democracy for the twenty-first century.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SMHilgert - LibraryThing

I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it to anyone willing to think "outside the box" about public policy. I especially appreciated the historical evolution of these dead ideas. My feeling ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Oreillynsf - LibraryThing

I loved this book and am hopeful that many will read it. There are so many huge issues facing our government and society, and our perspective on them is vividly colored by past experiences and ... Read full review


The Kids Will Earn More Than We Do
Free Trade Is Good No Matter How Many People Get Hurt
Your Company Should Take Care of You
Taxes Hurt the Economy and Theyre Always Too High
Schools Are a Local Matter
Money Follows Merit
Only Higher Taxes Can Save the Economy and the Planet
Only the Lower Upper Class Can Save Us from Inequality
Only Better Living Can Save Sagging Paychecks
Only a Dose of Nationalization Can Save Local Schools
Only Lessons from Abroad Can Save American Ideals
From Dead to Destined Ideas
Burying Dead Ideas in Business and Beyond

The Tyranny of Dead Ideas
Only Government Can Save Business
Only Business Can Save Liberalism

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About the author (2009)

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

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