W. R. Mead is on ground I find very familiar today. He is making a pragmatic argument about why we should shift to a system that prefers small business development, but there's a political philosophical argument for the proposal as well. It's Jefferson's old argument about the increased practical liberty that comes from owning your own means of production. Political liberty is good, but if you are effectively under the thumb of another, you are not really at liberty to speak your mind. This is why James Jackson, that greatest of Georgian political heroes, fought to undo the Yazoo land fraud and ensure a Georgia in which you could own your own land.
When I say he fought for this I mean literally fought, not "fought for" in the figurative sense preferred by contemporary politicians. First he fought in the Revolutionary War for the principle of political liberty. Then he fought four duels in the course of trying to undo the Yazoo land fraud as his opponents tried to kill him to prevent his success. He was not dissuaded by these multiple attempts on his life, but saw the question through to victory.
So what was the principle for which he fought? It was that the American system of government should work to ensure that Americans had at least the real potential to own their own means of production. Instead of a society structured around a renter/land-lord relationship, it would be a society structured as much as possible to be about individual families owning the things they needed to produce a living. Then they could say what they wanted when it came time to reason politically rather than having to scrape to the opinions of the great or the rich. It would enshrine the political control of the community among the people because the people would be practically as well as formally free.
There is an Aristotelian idea behind this model as well. In the Politics, Aristotle writes that the least dangerous group to own power in any society is the propertied middle class. Because they have land or businesses of their own, they want strong protections for private property, and thus will not (as the poor tended to do in Aristotle's time) vote to 'take from the rich and give to the poor.' Because they are not so rich that they can afford to be long away from tending to their own business, they will not seek to rule any more than is absolutely necessary, ensuring that government remains limited to only those concerns that absolutely require it. Unlike government by the rich or by those who are paid to govern, popular government led by the middle class will not seek to overawe every aspect of life in order to further their own class interests.
Thus they will avoid both the problems associated with government by unregulated democracy, and government by an elite that is rich or that is paid to perform public office.
It remains a good ideal for future reform. Government could do much less, so much less that it was only done part time by those who would want as quickly as possible to get back to literally minding their own business. What is the solution to poverty on this model? Encouraging the poor in coming to develop a productive business of their own.