Small is beautiful, right? Isn’t that what we’ve all been taught? From Jeffersonian politics to the hallowed family farm, from craft breweries to tech start ups in the garage. Small business is the engine and the soul and the driver of the American system. That’s the dominant narrative. And according to Robert Atkinson and Michael Lind, it is really wrong. In their new book, Big is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business (MIT Press, 2018), the authors review the empirical evidence and conclude that large businesses create more, generate more intellectual capital, pay better, pollute less, are more diverse, and score higher on pretty much any measure of economic or employee well-being that you can come up with. It is a shocking conclusion, but one that everyone involved in the regulation of business should be aware of. (And, by the way and probably a surprise to many, small business has had its thumb on the regulatory scales for much of the republic’s history.) Big is Beautiful goes against–way against–the prevailing narrative about business in this country.
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