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Wealth and Poverty

A New Edition for the Twenty-First CenturyGeorge Gilder

Originally published in 1982 and hailed as “the guide to capitalism,” the New York Times bestseller Wealth and Poverty by George F. Gilder is one of the most famous economic books of all time and has sold more than one million copies since its first release. In this influential classic, Gilder explains and makes the case for supply-side economics, proves the moral superiority of free-market capitalism, and shows why supply-side economics are more effective at decreasing poverty than government-regulated markets.

Now, in this new and completely updated edition of Wealth and Poverty, Gilder compares America’s current economic challenges with her past economic problems – particularly those of the late 1970s – and explains why Obama’s big-government, redistributive policies are doing more harm than good for the poor.

Making the case that supply-side economics and free market policies are – and always will be – the answer to decreasing America’s poverty rate and increasing her prosperity, Wealth & Poverty offers solutions to America’s current economic problems and hope to those who fear that our best days are behind us.

Inside Flap

Capitalism Endures

When George Gilder first published Wealth & Poverty in 1981, the book was an instant classic, becoming the economics bible of the unfolding Reagan revolution. “Not since the Gilded Age of the late 1800’s has anyone advanced so enthusiastic an endorsement of capitalism and capitalists,” observed the New York Times.

Now, amid the Obama administration’s redistributionist zeal, industrial planning schemes, vandalistic energy policies, demonization of wealth-creating entrepreneurs, and Keynesian spending programs, Gilder returns to the fray with an updated edition of his famous tome.


Thirty years after his paean to free enterprise shocked the Washington establishment, have the collapse of Enron, the economic meltdown of 2008, the advent of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and other events caused Gilder to reassess his devotion to capitalism? In a way, they have. As Gilder states in this edition, “It is clear that we, the original supply siders, bear some responsibility for the failure to persuade. All these years later, it has become clear that we were not radical enough.” 

Dissatisfied with half-hearted defenses of capitalism as the least bad system available, Wealth & Poverty passionately extols the morality, compassion, and efficacy of free enterprise. Buoyed by the collapse of communism but disturbed by the return of socialism under new guises, Gilder argues in a new prologue and epilogue that the solution to America’s current economic troubles cannot be found in warmed-over socialism, but in the generosity and economic vitality that can only be unleashed by the free market.

As President Obama’s policies lend Gilder’s arguments a shocking new relevancy, Gilder reminds us why the New Yorker called him a “scourge of feminists, unrepentant supply-sider, and now…a technology prophet.” Featuring a new foreword by Steve Forbes, this edition of Wealth & Poverty informs us that free enterprise is the core of freedom—and that nations which forget or ignore that historical lesson will not and cannot prosper.

George Gilder

Senior Fellow and Co-Founder of Discovery Institute
George Gilder  is Chairman of Gilder Publishing LLC, located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. A co-founder of Discovery Institute, Mr. Gilder is a Senior Fellow of the Center on Wealth, Poverty, and Morality, and also directs Discovery's Technology and Democracy Project. His latest book, Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy(2018), Gilder waves goodbye to today's Internet.  In a rocketing journey into the very near-future, he argues that Silicon Valley, long dominated by a few giants, faces a “great unbundling,” which will disperse computer power and commerce and transform the economy and the Internet.

Steve Forbes

Steve Forbes is Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media. In both 1996 and 2000, Steve campaigned vigorously for the Republican nomination for the Presidency. Key to his platform were a flat tax, medical savings accounts, a new Social Security system for working Americans, parental choice of schools for their children, term limits and a strong national defense. Steve continues to energetically promote this agenda.