How the Poor Can Save Capitalism

A new book presents practical ways to bring financial literacy, opportunities, and hope to America’s struggling economic majority

“When John Hope Bryant talks about how to expand the middle class, I listen. I urge everyone to read this book and discover for themselves John’s great ideas for creating an America with more shared opportunity and shared responsibility.”

“John Hope Bryant has made a wonderful, original, and visionary contribution for all of those who want to see economic inequality shrink in their lifetime.”
Former UN ambassador and Mayor of Atlanta

“John Hope Bryant has provided the roadmap to economic recovery for this country at a time when economic inequality is at its peak.”
Host of CNN’s Crossfire

Fully 70 percent of our economy is powered by consumer spending, not by business or government. And it’s not wealthy consumers who are driving economic growth in this country. It’s the bottom 80 percent of Americans by income, who spend 90 percent of their pay every year.

This is important, says entrepreneur and poverty activist JOHN HOPE BRYANT, because if Wall Street, banks, large corporations, and our government want sustained economic growth, they need to focus their efforts where emerging markets, entrepreneurs and small business owners are most abundant: America’s poor and struggling middle class communities—especially our inner cities. The 100 million Americans making $50,000 average income or less, who routinely experience too much month at the end of their money. This is the next major frontier of economic opportunity.

Bryant has written an inspiring and critically acclaimed new book, How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class (Berrett-Koehler, 2013), endorsed by former President Bill Clinton, with a foreword by legendary civil rights leader Andrew Young. In it, Bryant builds a compelling economic argument for investing in America’s least wealthy consumers.

As founder of Operation HOPE, a nonprofit private banker for low-wealth individuals and communities, Bryant explains the history and psychology behind the three factors that perpetuate poverty: lack of self-confidence and self-esteem; lack of positive role models; and lack of opportunity.

For each of these three challenges, Bryant presents specific, doable solutions—and provides real-life examples of organizations and individuals who are making remarkable progress at the grassroots level. He bolsters his positive plan of action with fascinating statistics and findings from the annual Gallup-HOPE Index, the only national research poll devoted to young people’s behavioral economics.

Readers learn why:

  • Financial literacy instruction from K through college is essential for self-determination and dignity.
  • Improving credit scores can change one’s future in unexpected ways.
  • Access to banking and investing should be a legal human right.
  • Investing in poor communities creates compounding wealth and other surprising benefits for corporations and banks.
  • Finance-related stress and lack of hope in less-privileged populations inhibits economic prosperity for everyone. 

How the Poor Can Save Capitalism culminates in what Bryant calls a Marshall Plan for our times, The HOPE Plan, which lays out: steps to create widespread financial literacy and financial access; strategies for encouraging employment and entrepreneurship; and concrete guidelines for ensuring that human capital needs are met and opportunity for all becomes real. This book offers educators, parents, policy makers, economists, business leaders, community activists, and every citizen who believes in the American dream fresh, positive solutions they can embrace and put into action. 







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