One of America’s success stories is its economy. For over a century, it has been the envy of the world. The opportunity it generates has inspired millions of people to want to become American.
Today, however, America’s economy is at a crossroads. Many have lost confidence in the country’s commitment to economic liberty. Across the political spectrum, many want the government to play an even greater role in the economy via protectionism, industrial policy, stakeholder capitalism, or even quasi-socialist policies. Numerous American political and business leaders are embracing these ideas, and traditional defenders of markets have struggled to respond to these challenges in fresh ways. Then there is a resurgent China bent on eclipsing the United States’s place in the world. At stake is not only the future of the world’s biggest economy, but the economic liberty that remains central to America’s identity as a nation.
But managed decline and creeping statism do not have to be America’s only choices, let alone its destiny. In his new book The Next American Economy: Nation, State, and Markets in an Uncertain World (2022), Samuel Gregg insists that there is an alternative. And that is a vibrant market economy grounded on entrepreneurship, competition, and trade openness, but embedded in what America’s founding generation envisaged as the United States’s future: a dynamic Commercial Republic that takes freedom, commerce, and the common good of all Americans seriously, and allows America as a sovereign-nation to pursue and defend its interests in a dangerous world without compromising its belief in the power of economic freedom.