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THE 3rd WAY: ECONOMIC REFORM or SOCIAL REVOLUTION the solution to income inequality... Building "Inclusive Capitalism" through Employee Ownership * HOW WEALTH IS CREATED * Paperback – October 15, 2015
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THE 3rd WAY
Upendra Chivukula and Veny W. Musum
THE 3rdWAY Publishers (292 pp.)
ISBN:978-1-4942-5460-5; January 4, 2016
An ambitious book offers a radical proposal to save capitalism by exponentially increasing the number of capitalists. According to the two debut authors and various politicians, the American middle class is ailing; while wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a plutocratic elite, inequality skyrockets.
Chivukula, New Jersey's former Deputy Speaker and Democrat, and Musum, a prominent Republican businessman, argue that the crux of the problem is that labor has gradually become severed from capital, and so the vast majority of productivity in the economy is supplied by a disenfranchised class hobbled by an appalling lack of appropriate payment for its efforts. The authors contend that the solution to this problem is to make the economy more inclusive by expanding the private ownership of both small businesses and corporations. This would be largely accomplished by a systematic overhaul of the tax system, which would simultaneously decrease taxes and dismantle various tax barriers to the proliferation of Employee Stock Ownership Plans. Those stock plans permit workers to enjoy the advantages of ownership while avoiding the principal disadvantages: they don't have to buy this stock with their own wages or front their own property as collateral. The authors repeatedly make clear that this enlargement of the owner class, or the creation of more capitalists, drives their proposal. "Here's the bottom line: Dramatically accelerate broad based property/capital ownership. Do that by requiring every corporate tax incentive conditioned on having some form of a broad based ownership share plan for their workers. Period." The authors believe that this approach navigates between the alternatives of ferocious capitalism and ideological socialism. They call this the third way, which is an expression of "economic democracy." This is not a facile exercise in political idealism: Chivukula and Musum furnish considerable empirical evidence that their strategy will not only work, but also be politically appealing to a broad spectrum of citizens, irrespective of party allegiances. This remains an impressively ambitious effort to find pragmatic and innovative solutions to problems created and sustained by blinkered partisan commitments.
A serious, rigorous contribution to the debate over how to rescue a drowning middle class.
Kirkus Media LLC, 6411 Burleson Rd., Austin, TX 78744
"Chivukula and Musum's easy to read THE 3rd WAY convincingly explains a set of common sense policies that can expand the wealth created by capitalism to all working Americans. Wage only income continues falling farther and farther behind fellow citizens who have large ownership stakes in our nation's productive assets. Our national leaders need to read and implement their road map to a fair and enriching economy for all Americans."
J. Michael Keeling, CAE
President - The ESOP Association
"THE 3rd WAY makes the case for action to spread wealth and ownership in a style we all can grasp. May it help mobilize people nationwide across the political spectrum on the best way to rebuild middle class America: greater capital ownership by regular citizens."
Richard B. Freeman, PhD
Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics at Harvard University
Senior Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Senior Fellow, London School Centre for Economic Performance
Co-Director, Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science
"Mr. Chivukula, who is a well-known politician in the US, demonstrates in this book that he and his co-author, Veny Musum combine political acumen with thoughtful meditation on economic democracy. They deserve our congratulations."
Jagdish Bhagwati, PhD
University Professor of Economics, Law and International Affairs, Columbia University
"Chivukula and Musum, co-authors of THE 3rd WAY, present a compelling political and economic basis for more inclusive capital ownership that would reverse the long-term trend of income inequality and would expand the middle class. Building off decades of research, they propose federal and state policies that are within reach of our current political system, and outline the dire consequences if policies are not embraced to encourage broader based employee ownership. This is an excellent compilation of research data and significant policy implications presented in straight-forward manner."
Mary Ann Beyster - President
Foundation for Enterprise Development
Fostering Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Ownership
Executive Producer, We the Owners
"THE 3rd WAY reminds us of a hopeful fact; values can, on occasion, trump ideologies. New Jersey provides us with a Republican Committeeman (Veny W. Musum) and a Democratic Assemblyman (Upendra Chivukula) who agree that America urgently needs a more inclusive and democratic form of capitalism. What these authors have discovered they have common is what matters. Their insights signal a new direction for American politics and economics."
Dr. Christopher Mackin, Founder, Ownership Associates; Professor, Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School and Adjunct Lecturer Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations
"The authors of THE 3rd WAY have done of marvelous job of explaining why neither conventional capitalism nor conventional socialism is capable of solving the two most pressing problems of the day - the rising inequality of income and of wealth and the disappearance of the American middle class. Unlike most books that only serve to identify the problem, THE 3rd WAY prescribes specific legislative and governmental actions that can be taken to alleviate them. This is a must read for all politicians and citizens who have been asking what they can do to help restore economic democracy to America."
John Menke - President and CEO
Menke & Associates, Inc.
The Nation's Premiere ESOP Advisors
"America became a free, independent and self-governing people because it was created by men and women who first owned property. Not on loan from the King or Lord, but real ownership. From that developed the demand to control their government. Our freedom comes from ownership, not the ballot box. The means of production are no longer simply land and animals: an ownership society must also now include shares of companies. This way embodies growth, independence, self-reliance, dignity and real equality before the law and man."
Founder and President
Americans for Tax Reform
"THE 3rd WAY's emphasis on employee ownership as a way forward is a refreshing departure from the usual policy proposals on dealing with inequality that either have not worked, or have little chance of becoming law."
Cory Rosen, PhD
Founder, National Center for Employee Ownership
"Turning the idea of spreading employee ownership into reality has long been a passion of mine - as indeed it was for President Reagan, whom I served as a special assistant. This idea resolves the great ideological conflict of our era by achieving socialist ideals through capitalist means. It is vitally important that we increase worker participation and control in our processes of wealth creation. It is equally important that we preserve our ingenious, freedom-expanding reliance on private property rights. This book is a most welcome entrant into the debate, its authors offering a credible pathway to a system that prizes employee ownership. It deserves the most widespread consideration and discussion."
United States Congressman, (R) California
President Ronald Reagan's Speechwriter
"THE 3rd WAY is a communications breakthrough! The authors have "got" the essentials of Louis Kelso's message. And they have imparted that message so simply and accurately that others can understand it, too--and more important--translate it into political action and wise government policies."
President of The Kelso Institute
Wife of the late Louis O. Kelso - Father of the ESOP movement
Co-author of many of Louis Kelso's most important books, congressional submissions, columns and speeches.
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Top customer reviews
Productivity share is now 90% capital and 10% labor. The book cites statistics on the gap between labor and capital and another gap between labor and technology as our political system has not kept pace with technology advancement. Society has evolved to a Plutocracy under failed government stimulus.
It's necessary and logical logical to grant labor an ownership of capital in exchange for reduction of the world's highest corporate tax rate. The authors propose employee ownership (EO), primarily ESOPs, although they describe other forms like KSPS, CSOPS, etc.. Lincoln with his Homestead Act had this in mind. An alternate solution, the discriminatory minimum wage is a mechanism for holding black youth out of the work force
Sociology, politics of democracy and economics are all simplified for public consumption. The authors attempt to politicize the the issue into right/ left wing ideology with a florid, populist, style of writing involving science aphorisms like tectonic shifts. They reference ideas of Hegel, Ben Franklin, Louis Brandeis and Louis Kelso the originator of the ESOP idea. They applaud companies like PG that compensate employees with vesting stock options. Silicon Valley is a bastion of corporations engaging is some form of shared equity shared equity.
Page 75 exemplifies a simplistic approach to democracy. “In a democracy no one can stop the will of the people once they are informed, united and vocal in their desire.” It sounds like Occupy Wall Street, protest marchers or the French Revolution. On page 17 they have Thomas Jefferson writing the constitution. There is the occasional thoughtless error like proposing taxation as a percentage of revenue. I'm sure that's not what is meant. There is some interesting and sound information here, but the simplification for popular consumption is a bit overdone.
There is a good introduction to the economics of optimum government size and expenditure with Armey and Rahn curves, variations of the Laffer curve that illustrates optimum tax revenue. Missing from the study of inequality is the Gini coefficient, the authors preferring to use the simplistic and meaningless share of richest 1% or, when convenient, the richest 0.1%.
Capitalism works, but is not fair. Socialism is ethical but doesn't work, with examples of the USSR, Cuba, NK, and the improvement in China after Mao. It's not so clear whether the latter can be attributed to astute manipulation of world capitalism or improved leadership, lacking in the USA. In present day politics populist ethics trumps logic, observation and economics.
The book's EO and tax proposals involve impeccable logic on the relationship between labor and capital. However, these authors don't seem to be aware of the extent of the political opposition. Greed of corporations and liberal government will likely scuttle support for these proposals. Another hurdle is that campaigns of Obama, Clinton and Sanders aided by socialist economists like Thomas Picketty, Paul Krugman and Robert Reich have gulled the American public into an anti-capital, ant-corporate stance. With the obvious advantages of privatized SS so roundly deplored, legislated EOs are unlikely to achieve the approval of egalitarian entitlement majority politicians and voters.