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H. Woody Brock *75 (Photo: Mary Ryan)

New book: American Gridlock: Why the Right and Left Are Both Wrong, Commonsense 101 Solutions to the Economic Crises, by H. Woody Brock *75 (John Wiley & Sons)

The author: H. Woody Brock is the founder and president of Strategic Economic Decisions, an economic think tank that provides economic and financial market analysis to financial institutions, corporations, and investors. Brock, who earned a Ph.D. in politics studying mathematical economics and political philosophy at Princeton, is a public speaker and has written op-ed pieces for The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.
The book: The author examines how the United States can address its economic problems and looks at five challenges — including the entitlements crisis, the risk of financial market meltdowns, and the “need to learn how to bargain effectively with thugocracies” (China). “Resolving them,” he writes, “is fundamental to the nation’s future.” He also argues that deductive logic (instead of ideologically driven data-analysis) can change the way people think about these issues and lead to new win-win solutions that cross the Left-Right ideological divide.
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Opening lines: “Two decades ago, during ski season, I had the pleasure of spending a weekend in the Alpine chalet of Bill and Pat Buckley near Gstaad, Switzerland. … At lunch we were joined by his close friend Ambassador John Kenneth Galbraith, the celebrated Harvard economics professor who was as liberal as Bill was conservative. Despite their sharply contrasting views on many topics, the two carried on a civilized discourse in which each put forth and defended his views intelligently and rationally. Even better, they ended up achieving a modicum of consensus in their views via the dialectic of step-by-step reasoning. Of course, such behavior was once expected, and the lack of it was seen as ‘bad manners.’ Those days are long gone.”
Review: The New Statesman magazine called American Gridlock a “sparkling, trenchant, and highly unusual book. … Brock wants better government and he believes that better thinking will provide it. American Gridlock is his impassioned plea to the U.S. governing classes.”