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What Went Wrong

By George R. Tyler


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Publication Date: November 2014

Publication Date: June 2013

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“Tyler explodes numerous myths… Controversial but well-grounded in data and fact. Anyone with an interest in economic policy ought to have a look.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“[Tyler] provokes outrage with his impassioned portrait of an America where job security is a relic of the past.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Tyler’s timely and convincing book confirms what Americans feel in their bones: the economy is rigged against them and something is definitely wrong.”
—Library Journal


Something has gone seriously wrong with the American economy.

The American economy has experienced considerable growth in the last 30 years. But virtually none of this growth has trickled down to the average American. Incomes have been flat since 1985. Inequality has grown, and social mobility has dropped dramatically. Equally troubling, these policies have been devastating to both American productivity and our long-term competitiveness.

Many reasons for these failures have been proposed. Globalization. Union greed. Outsourcing.

But none of these explanations can address the harsh truth that many countries around the world are dramatically outperforming the U.S. in delivering broad middle-class prosperity. And this is despite the fact that these countries are more exposed than America to outsourcing and globalization and have much higher levels of union membership.

In What Went Wrong, George R. Tyler, a veteran of the World Bank and the Treasury Department, takes the reader through an objective and data-rich examination of the American experience over the last 30 years. He provides a fascinating comparison between the America and the experience of the “family capitalism” countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

Over the last 30 years, they have outperformed the U.S. economy by the only metric that really matters—delivering better lives for their citizens. The policies adopted by the family capitalist countries aren’t socialist or foreign. They are the same policies that made the U.S. economy of the 1950s and 1960s the strongest in the world.

What Went Wrong describes exactly what went wrong with the American economy, how countries around the world have avoided these problems, and what we need to do to get back on the right track.


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About the Author

George R.  Tyler

George R. Tyler

George Tyler is an economist who has extensive private- and public-sector exposure to international issues and foreign economics and political systems. Author of What Went Wrong, he worked in the United States Senate for 18 years. Tyler served as senior economist to former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey and to Sen. Lloyd M. Bentsen (D-TX). Appointed by President Clinton as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Tyler has worked closely with top policymakers like Lawrence Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. His international exposure was intensified when working at the World Bank in Washington.

Drawing on his international experience and contacts, Tyler co-authored the creation of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) in 1999. He envisioned DNDi as a non-profit NGO conducting research on medicines for the neglected diseases of the developing world. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontiéres or MSF) endorsed the concept and provided critical seed funding to the Geneva-based NGO. MSF continues to support the $19 million budget in conjunction with the U.S. National Institutes of Health and private donors like the Gates Foundation. As a member of the DNDi audit committee, Tyler gained extensive exposure to Europe and economic systems across the globe.

Coupled with his time in the U.S. Senate and Treasury, this experience gives Tyler an expansive perspective on the many variations of capitalism and democracy across the globe. Tyler is also treasurer of the international aid group Bikes for the World, which recycles American bicycles to Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

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Publication Details

Format: Paperback

Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 1 in.

Weight: 1.25 lbs.

Publication Date: November 2014

Format: E-book (epub)

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 2 in.

Weight: 2.13 lbs.

Publication Date: June 2013

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