We are living in complex times, grappling with post-pandemic issues, the economic crisis, divisive political relations, and a system that no longer works for all levels of society. Given the circumstances, it is crucial that we find new ways to avoid falling into a downward spiral. This is an opportunity to address social injustices, and to strengthen the economies of both companies and entire countries. Change, however, is almost never an easy choice, and it requires knowledge, commitment, and a willingness to take risks.
According to the author, one of the major problems with the US economy is the sudden stalling of social mobility. The legendary American Dream, whereby anyone could start from nothing and work their way up to prosperity, has been undermined by a series of complex challenges. Graves maintains that nowadays, even if someone works hard their entire life, it is still very unlikely that they will ever become truly wealthy if they come from a background of poverty. If we are to salvage the American Dream, we have to find new ways of creating wealth for everyone, and guarantee fair standards for all workers by erasing unfair differences at birth.
Graves maintains that the ESOP economic model could provide the solution to America’s problems. He says that it would make employment opportunities and remuneration fairer for everyone, while also boosting businesses and the economy in general. The author personally tested the Employee Stock Ownership Plan business model when he was CEO of Burns & McDonnell Engineering, one of the most successful cases of ESOP implementation so far.
The ESOP model allows employees to become shareholders and owners of the company they work for, even up to 100%. The shares are purchased with no up-front capital, so the employees work to pay off the amount due, which over time earns them dividends that they do not have to pay for out of their own pockets. As each employee is also the owner of the company, they are effectively working for their own personal gain, which in turn gives the company a new lease of life and boosts development beyond what is normally expected from a non-ESOP company. After all, growing companies and making people richer is the best way to drive the economy of the country, and ultimately, the world.
According to Graves, the ESOP model creates a ripple effect, creating waves that grow and spread and ultimately change the fortunes of the global economy. As we have already seen, change is never easy, so it is important to study the model and understand how it can be applied most effectively. The author wrote this book to explain how the ESOP model works, drawing on his own personal experience, and answering the basic questions of why, what, who, and how.