- File Size: 3112 KB
- Print Length: 20 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: HomeFree America (July 22, 2014)
- Publication Date: July 22, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00M1D4RVC
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #827,300 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The American Way: The Lost Secret to American Prosperity and How to Get it Back Kindle Edition
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He introduces the subjects by laying out his perspective on why we have been making so many bad decisions, citing attitudes toward debt, the government, corporations, legalisms, and others. Up to this point, he is entirely correct. He cites GDP/capita growth through 1939 as an example of the ‘good old days’ when correct attitudes prevailed; then jumps to 2000 to point out decline. He provides no figures for 1939-2000, but states that “big government and big finance replaced the cultural influence” that previously informed our decisions. But here Robb neglects to cite several important threads. The first is consumerism. This is important because consumers consume, and neither a family nor a nation gets rich by consuming. On the other hand, wealth is the result of production, not consumption. Consuming was called Virtue, the proof of which was the lack of consumer goods in the Commie countries: They had one kind of tomato sauce; we had 20. Their families couldn’t afford cars; ours had two. Dad had a job to support the family; mom had the newest appliances; corporations had profits; shareholders had gains; politicians got re-elected; and even preachers could point to the prosperity that demonstrated our systemic superiority to ‘godless communism’. And that’s how the debt began; and our love of corporations; and the big-government enablers. We were enjoying the party.
The second unmentioned thread is that our reliance on laws is an outgrowth of what we deem to be fairness in a democratic society: Everyone gets treated the same provided they comply with a uniform set of laws. That’s why we like to call ourselves, “a nation of laws”. I think Robb would agree that we should be instead a nation of intelligence, common sense and fairness. Perhaps the South should have considered that vis-à-vis their Black populations? I believe big government was required to mitigate their unfair conditions. Robb mentions Teddy Roosevelt dealing with those who rigged the economic game. How did he deal with them? That’s right: Laws and regulations. If everyone could be trusted, laws and regulations could be massively reduced, but that isn’t the world we live in. We live in the world where banks and utilities were trusted, but brought down the economy in 1929. (And yes, I know about Friedman’s arguments blaming the FRB; but he never blamed the FRB for the original crash.) Of course, reliance on legalisms would be unnecessary – perhaps even unattractive – if instead of democracy we had arbiters with more authority and power. However, that alternative is clearly opposed by Robb, as it should be.
Another thread ignored by Robb is our previously small military. In 1900 our entire military consisted of 28,000 men. Teddy Roosevelt had only recently begun sinking money into big battleships. Before that, our military was a five-and-dime operation compared to Europe. Did I mention 3000 mile ocean buffer from those nations? Robb doesn’t.
And did I mention starting out with three-million square miles of virgin resources? Robb does, but only in passing, as if they didn’t give us one hell of a leg up. Nor does he mention the government’s involvement in expediting our GDP growth by building the transcontinental railway (at govt. expense) and then subsidizing the building out of the network via huge land giveaways; the Homestead act, etc. etc.
And finally, the solutions: : Independence, trust, and optimism. No one is independent. We rely on utility companies for water, power and natural gas. We rely on multinational oil companies for gasoline. Our food is grown far away, often in foreign lands. We use government roads and airports for travel. We communicate via corporate-run networks. So perhaps we should mitigate Robbs advice: Be as self-sufficient and independent as you are reasonably able to be. That means putting money away, reducing consumption reasonably, and read, read, read a variety of subjects and viewpoints. Similarly, while contracts are unavoidable in a modern society (especially when dealing with a mega-corporation) deal as much as possible on the basis of personal trust relationships. And as a corollary, avoid as much as possible dealing with those who you have reason to believe are untrustworthy. Last, be as optimistic as possible, at least about yourself, if not that developing train wreck we call society.
Lastly, I need to say that after reading and admiring Robb (on his website), I was surprised to see this subtle and complex thinker present such an overly simplistic, non-nuanced essay.
I am acquainted with John personally, so give The American Way 5 stars because the messaging presented is a high fidelity representation of the terms he lives by.
I'll recommend this book to my friends by saying, here, read this now. Within the hour you'll know where you stand on the American Way. Fair enough?
Regrettably, I am only giving this eBook 3 stars because typos and occasional awkward sentences detracted from an otherwise compelling narrative. Even for just $1.99, I expected better in that regard.