The New Builders

Because of both my involvement with Zebras Unite and all the economic issues raised since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to ways we could rebuild the economy, something that has been on my agenda since I did my PhD research and first book on the French Unified Socialist Party fifty years ago. The Next Big Idea Club included The New Builders in its list of new books for this quarter, and it was well worth the read.

Written by a venture capitalist and a journalist who both have years of experience in entrepreneurship, The New Builders dramatically expands what we mean by that term in ways that bridge elements of the left with its commitment to equality and some of their counterparts on the.libertarian leaning right who emphasize private ownership. The book combines an overview of the growing inequality in the United States that has long hit people of color and women particularly hard and that has been exacerbated by the pandemic and other recent trends.

More importantly, the book explores dozens of examples of the ways entrepreneurs around the country are building companies that given themselves a livelihood and meet community needs that weren’t being met by conventional businesses, especially banking. Among others, you’ll meet hip hop artists in rural Virginia, urban developers in Oklahoma, and, most intriguingly of all, a Dominican-American baker in Massachusetts whose tasty cakes all but jump off the page.

In short, if you are a peacebuilder interested in broader issues of social change, pick up this book.