The concept of creative destruction is central to modern capitalism. Without it, the world’s dominant economic system would lose its intrinsic promise of a better, wealthier future. However, while this central idea is widely accepted, few people openly embrace the destructive element that’s inherent to the notion of creative destruction. Daniel Gross, author of the new book Better, Stronger, Faster: The Myth of American Decline… and the Rise of a New Economy is quick to remind readers that we cannot enjoy capitalism’s bounty without accepting a few knocks along the way. As a result, he may be one of the few popular economic thinkers to survey the rubble of the great recession and postulate that America is poised for a comeback.
Considering that the current zeitgeist is all about the rise of China and the decline of the United States, Gross’s assertions are bold. However, as a respected journalist who has covered the crash of 2008 and its aftermath for publications like Slate and Newsweek, Gross has seen the good, bad, and ugly of the global economy, and he believes there is much more good in the United States than most people realize.
Gross is optimistic about America’s economic future, partly because of the government’s swift reaction to the Great Recession. When the wheels began to fall off the economy in 2008 the White House and the Fed pulled out all the stops. When the Japanese economy melted down following the exuberance of the go-go 1980s, it took Tokyo 12 years to put in place the type of actions adopted by the Bush and Obama administrations in a mere 16 months.
More than a policy book, Better, Stronger, Faster is also an informed advocacy piece that heralds better days for the US economy. Gross does not underplay the economic clout of fast-growing emerging markets, but he remains confident that from the Great Recession, policy makers, businesses, investors and consumers have been laying the ground work for a new “industrial ecosystems.” This evolution will foster a new economic system that might not dominate the global economy – as it has in the past – but could turn out to be healthier, and more sustainable.