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Wealth and Poverty: A New Edition for the Twenty-First Century Hardcover – August 21, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing; Second Edition edition (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596988096
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596988095
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.8 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Capitalism Endures


When George Gilder first published Wealth & Poverty in 1981, the book was an instant classic, becoming the economics bible of the unfolding Reagan revolution. “Not since the Gilded Age of the late 1800’s has anyone advanced so enthusiastic an endorsement of capitalism and capitalists,” observed the New York Times.

Now, amid the Obama administration’s redistributionist zeal, industrial planning schemes, vandalistic energy policies, demonization of wealth-creating entrepreneurs, and Keynesian spending programs, Gilder returns to the fray with an updated edition of his famous tome.


Thirty years after his paean to free enterprise shocked the Washington establishment, have the collapse of Enron, the economic meltdown of 2008, the advent of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and other events caused Gilder to reassess his devotion to capitalism? In a way, they have. As Gilder states in this edition, “It is clear that we, the original supply siders, bear some responsibility for the failure to persuade. All these years later, it has become clear that we were not radical enough.”

Dissatisfied with half-hearted defenses of capitalism as the least bad system available, Wealth & Poverty passionately extols the morality, compassion, and efficacy of free enterprise. Buoyed by the collapse of communism but disturbed by the return of socialism under new guises, Gilder argues in a new prologue and epilogue that the solution to America’s current economic troubles cannot be found in warmed-over socialism, but in the generosity and economic vitality that can only be unleashed by the free market.

As President Obama’s policies lend Gilder’s arguments a shocking new relevancy, Gilder reminds us why the New Yorker called him a “scourge of feminists, unrepentant supply-sider, and now…a technology prophet.” Featuring a new foreword by Steve Forbes, this edition of Wealth & Poverty informs us that free enterprise is the core of freedom—and that nations which forget or ignore that historical lesson will not and cannot prosper.

From the Back Cover

From the New Prologue


The United States over the last decade has witnessed a classic confrontation between the forces of entrepreneurial capitalism and those of established institutions claiming a higher virtue, expertise, and political standing. One side subsists on unforced profits of enterprise; the other on rents and tolls and privileges at the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and the White House.

&hellp;The wealth of America is not an inventory of goods; it is an organic living entity, a fragile pulsing fabric of ideas, expectations, loyalties, moral commitments, and visions. To vivisect it for redistribution is to kill it. As President Mitterand’s French technocrats discovered in the 1980s, and President Obama’s quixotic American ecocrats are discovering today, government managers of complex systems of wealth soon find they are administering an industrial corpse, a socialized Solyndra.


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Customer Reviews

I finished reading it within two days.
The Options Lab
Mr. Gilder also explains the heart of what separates rich from poor, and the fundamental reason may surprise you.
Robert E. Ryan
It has been a great read and is helping me understand many things that I already knew in my gut.
Richard Bohn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Cort, author of THE DOOR IS OPEN on September 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In this new edition of "Wealth and Poverty", George Gilder suggests that a successful economy is driven less by incentives (like tax cuts) than by the unimpeded flow of information. "Capitalism is more an information system than an incentive system. Increasing revenues come not from a mere scheme of carrots and sticks but from the development and application of productive knowledge"

It is precisely by constantly talking about tax incentives, he says, rather than about freely-flowing information, that many free market economists have unwittingly helped to encourage the false common notion that capitalism is based on greed. But greed, Gilder insists, does not create business growth. It is new information, new knowledge, and creative imagination that stimulates new enterprises and revitalizes old ones. Greed merely induces business owners to become more and more entwined with and dependent upon the government, from whom they seek subsidies and `guarantees' that lower their risk and assure them of steady profit, in exchange for conforming their behavior to bureaucratic standards. This creates a certain amount of safety, but it also creates an economic environment that stifles the boldness and creativity of entrepreneurs.

I'm an old Massachusetts Kennedy Liberal Democrat, and I certainly do not agree with every statement in this book. But it is well-written, intelligent and decent, and Gilder makes an impressive case for putting an end to all the negativity and discouragement that are so pervasive these days, and for encouraging enterprise and growth as the best means to get America out of the doldrums and back to prosperity and optimism.
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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Geraldine Ahearn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"WEALTH AND POVERTY" was first published in 1981, which sold more than one million copies, an instant classic and one of the most famous economic books of all time. This is the updated version by George F.Gilder as he presents America's current economic challenges with past economic problems, explaining why Obama's big-government policies are doing more harm than good for the poor. The author offers solutions to America's current economic problems and hope for the future, revealing an excellent endorsement of capitalism. Gilder explains that free enterprise is the core of freedom, and nations that ignore this lesson cannot prosper. In conclusion, the answer to decreasing poverty and increasing prosperity is supply-side economics and free market policies. Informative, Concise, Comprehensive, and Highly Recommended for all Americans!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Eugene Kasper on September 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The original Wealth and Poverty was one of a few great books in the 20th Century. This book is a rehash but a rehash is well worth the read and investment. However the data is old and without new examples based on more current data this books usefulness is downgraded. The references date back mostly to the 1970s and early eighties. Of course some are relevant but many conclusions should be based on more current data. The conclusions however are excellent and well reasoned.

I feel I am criticizing a great person but that is not my intent. George Gilder is a hero as his insight changed many to understand not just economics but the future. I have worn out at least three copies of the original Wealth and Poverty but learned a lot in this new edition. This is a great book by a great American. Buy it and study it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Donald Schwartz on September 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wealth and Poverty is an instant classic. George Gilder is right up there with such greats as Adam Smith, Hayek and Milton Freeman. I wish every politician was required to read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bookratt on June 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Read it in the 1980s as one option for required reading in a business class and discarded it soon after opening its pages in favor of another book; I got sick of phrases like "a black is not a Jew" and his constant whining that women don't like him since he said the world would be better off if they stayed out of the workforce. In rereading it again now, I remember more about why it was difficult to take him seriously.

Slogging through his litany of hatred of everyone who isn't white, a WASP or male shines through as clearly today as it did then. His dislike (fear?) of Democrats, single moms, working moms, feminists, educated women, but especially of black men and their moms is palpable and his denigration of nearly all workers in any field but banking, finance, or the law simply radiates from the pages of this book. He apparently believes the term robber baron is a misnomer and that Millikin was a saint.

He praises leveraged buyouts, corporate raiders, inside traders, high risk mortgage providers, off shore capital strategies, tax avoidance, non allegience to the law (laws are for other people). He seems to also be advocating for what he would call a separate but equal society of uneducated and compliant masses for the good of himself and everyone else who thinks as he does; where everyone but he and his cronies stays put, shuts up, and dies where they started. UNLESS they are a business owner. Then, all bets are off, never mind clean water or the health and safety of people, damn the torpedoes (literal and figural), just full steam ahead toward profit regardless of the social and cultural failures and ills such thinking creates.

He's setting up and already apologizing for, in this 1981 book, what he and his cronies today call Too Big to Fail.
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