For several hundred years, Cowen argues, the Western world in general and America in particular have benefitted from relatively abundant or accessible sources of economic growth — “low-hanging fruit” — such as newly opened land, expanded education, and technological breakthroughs ranging from electricity to pharmaceuticals.The rest includes discussion of Ayn Rand, John Horgan and the social status of scientists. Whole thing here.
The trouble is, he contends, the low-hanging fruit has been getting sparse in the past several decades. Yes, there is still much technological innovation but it’s largely focused on Internet-related sectors that don’t necessarily produce a lot of jobs or revenue. A great deal of financial innovation has been occurring but that only enriches small numbers of people without necessarily producing much social benefit.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The Great Stagnation
At FrumForum, I review The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better, by Tyler Cowen. Excerpt: