The Smart Society offers a detailed blueprint for how the United States can recast its human capital policies to make all Americans—not just a privileged elite—smarter and more successful than ever before, at the same stemming the size and cost of its welfare state. The spectacular, centuries-long success of the United States is based on its having determined, early on, to be a smart country, single-mindedly developing institutions and practices that encouraged and enabled its native born citizens to maximize their economic and social potential, and welcoming opportunity-seeking foreigners to join them. Over the last four decades, however, the vaunted United States human capital machine has been breaking down, dimming the economic and social prospects of millions of Americans, crowding the nation’s welfare rolls and prisons, and sharply inflating the size and cost of the nation’s “safety net.”

If The Smart Society blueprint is followed, these trends can be reversed and the nation and its people can quickly regain their preeminence in the hyper-competitive and globalized world of the 21st century. This is a most topical issue today because the country’s current heated political disagreements are not just about the proper size of government, but about how the United States can reverse its apparent decline and restore its historic economic and social vigor—in other words, regain its place as the world’s most “exceptional” nation.

"Peter Salins draws upon his distinguished career and research into educational planning to offer a remarkable book dealing with America’s most important asset – human capital. The work combines insights from recent works in economics and political science on the role of human capital in building the US into an economic superpower to remind us that nurturing this asset remains a critical challenge for policymakers in the 21st century.”
— Isaac Ehrlich, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Human Capital

"Peter Salins, a distinguished social scientist and university administrator, is an unabashed patriot with a sharp mastery of data and detail. In this book he turns his attention to education and the rebuilding of American human capital. Refreshingly upbeat, he justifies his optimism with cogent analysis, and clear policy recommendations, going beyond the weary polarizations of the day.  We need to follow his advice!"
— E.D. Hirsch, professor emeritus of education and humanities at the University of Virginia and the founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation

“The economic strength of America depends above all on the smarts and skills of Americans. Peter Salins takes a thorough look at how to improve them. He neglects to recommend only one way Americans can improve our human capital: They can read The Smart Society.
— Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor, National Review

“Peter Salins combines an extraordinary command of policy detail with a profound grasp of America's challenges at their broadest and most basic level. This remarkable book reminds us that beneath all the data and the theories that fill our policy debates are people: human beings striving to succeed and thrive. Salins shows us why thriving has become so difficult for so many in our country, and what we can do to change that. This book is essential reading for 21st century policymakers.”
— Yuval Levin, editor, National Affairs

 “Peter Salins draws into a coherent thesis a remarkable and diverse array of forces, all of which will influence the future of our nation. His observations and recommendations may infuriate both ends of the political spectrum, a fact which speaks volumes about the highly informed integrity that serves as the foundation of Dr. Salins’ thinking.  This work is clear, concise, readable and informative. Everyone who cares about our country and the future that awaits our children and grandchildren needs to read this book.”
— Robert King, former SUNY Chancellor and President of Kentucky’s Council on Post-Secondary Education


Peter Salins is a senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute's Center for State and Local Leadership, University Professor of Political Science at Stony Brook University and director of its graduate program in public policy, a fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners, a director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council of New York, and a trustee of the Lavanburg Foundation.




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