cover image of Big Is Beautiful

Big Is Beautiful

Debunking the Myth of Small Business · The MIT Press

by Robert D. Atkinson Author · Michael Lind Author


Sign up to save your library

With an OverDrive account, you can save your favorite libraries for at-a-glance information about availability. Find out more about OverDrive accounts.

   Not today

Why small business is not the basis of American prosperity, not the foundation of American democracy, and not the champion of job creation.

In this provocative book, Robert Atkinson and Michael Lind argue that small business is not, as is widely claimed, the basis of American prosperity. Small business is not responsible for most of the country's job creation and innovation. American democracy does not depend on the existence of brave bands of self-employed citizens. Small businesses are not systematically discriminated against by government policy makers. Rather, Atkinson and Lind argue, small businesses are not the font of jobs, because most small businesses fail. The only kind of small firm that contributes to technological innovation is the technological start-up, and its success depends on scaling up. The idea that self-employed citizens are the foundation of democracy is a relic of Jeffersonian dreams of an agrarian society. And governments, motivated by a confused mix of populist and free market ideology, in fact go out of their way to promote small business. Every modern president has sung the praises of small business, and every modern president, according to Atkinson and Lind, has been wrong.

Pointing to the advantages of scale for job creation, productivity, innovation, and virtually all other economic benefits, Atkinson and Lind argue for a "size neutral" policy approach in both the United States and around the world that would encourage growth rather than enshrine an anachronism. If we overthrow the "small is beautiful" ideology, we will be able to recognize large firms as the engines of progress and prosperity that they are.

Publication Details

The MIT Press
Publication Date:
The MIT Press


  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read 743.2 KB
  • Adobe EPUB eBook 743.2 KB

Michael Lind (Author)

Michael Lind is a Visiting Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs of the University of Texas and author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States.

More about Michael Lind

Robert D. Atkinson (Author)

Robert Atkinson is Founder and President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, D.C. think tank, and coauthor of Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage.

More about Robert D. Atkinson
Big Is Beautiful
Copy and paste the code into your website.
New here? Learn how to read digital books for free