The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better [NOOK Book]

Overview

America is in disarray and our economy is failing us. We have been through the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, unemployment remains stubbornly high, and talk of a double-dip recession persists. Americans are not pulling the world economy out of its sluggish state -- if anything we are looking to Asia to drive a recovery.Median wages have risen only slowly since the 1970s, and this multi-decade stagnation is not yet over. By contrast, the living standards of earlier generations would double ...
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The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better

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Overview

America is in disarray and our economy is failing us. We have been through the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, unemployment remains stubbornly high, and talk of a double-dip recession persists. Americans are not pulling the world economy out of its sluggish state -- if anything we are looking to Asia to drive a recovery.Median wages have risen only slowly since the 1970s, and this multi-decade stagnation is not yet over. By contrast, the living standards of earlier generations would double every few decades. The Democratic Party seeks to expand government spending even when the middle class feels squeezed, the public sector doesn’t always perform well, and we have no good plan for paying for forthcoming entitlement spending. To the extent Republicans have a consistent platform, it consists of unrealistic claims about how tax cuts will raise revenue and stimulate economic growth. The Republicans, when they hold power, are often a bigger fiscal disaster than the Democrats. How did we get into this mess?Imagine a tropical island where the citrus and bananas hang from the trees. Low-hanging literal fruit -- you don’t even have to cook the stuff.In a figurative sense, the American economy has enjoyed lots of low-hanging fruit since at least the seventeenth century: free land; immigrant labor; and powerful new technologies. Yet during the last forty years, that low-hanging fruit started disappearing and we started pretending it was still there. We have failed to recognize that we are at a technological plateau and the trees are barer than we would like to think. That’s it. That is what has gone wrong.The problem won’t be solved overnight, but there are reasons to be optimistic. We simply have to recognize the underlying causes of our past prosperity—low hanging fruit—and how we will come upon more of it.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As Cowen makes clear, many of this era's technological breakthroughs produce enormous happiness gains, but surprisingly little economic activity." —-David Brooks, The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101502259
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/25/2011
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 402,410
  • File size: 427 KB

Meet the Author

Paul Boehmer graduated with a master's degree and was cast as Hamlet by the very stage actor who inspired his career path. He has worked on Broadway and extensively in regional theater, and has been cast in various roles in many episodes of Star Trek. Paul's love of literature and learning led him by nature to his work as a narrator for audiobooks, his latest endeavour.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Preface to the Hardcover Edition 1

1 The Low-Hanging Fruit We Ate: Land, Technology, and Uneducated Kids 5

2 Our New (Not So) Productive Economy: Government, Health Care, and Education 23

3 Does the Internet Change Everything?: Price, Production, and Revenue 45

4 The Government of Low-Hanging Fruit: Left, Right, and Upside Down 55

5 Why Did We Have Such a Big Financial Crisis?: Bankers, Museum Directors, You, and Me 69

6 Can We Fix Things?: The Great Difference Then and Now 81

Notes 91

Index 103

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 44 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 13, 2011

    Definitely something to chew over.

    This book provides some fresh perspectives on why our economy is struggling as much as it is. I found myself agreeing with a lot of the points, although I still need some to mull iver the validity if them. It is short and under $4. If you have an interest in current events I suggest you check it out.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    An interesting alternative look at todays depression 60 pages, an easy read.

    An interesting alternative look at todays economy

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    Worest sample ever!

    Nothing but index.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2014

    I liked this about as much as Cowen's other work, "Average

    I liked this about as much as Cowen's other work, "Average is Over," which is to say: three stars.  It's a decent book with interesting ideas, and while I'm at least capable of being convinced of what Cowen is trying to prove, he doesn't make much of a case.  His theories seem to be the result of casual observation and baseless hypothesis, not rigorous analysis or erudite research.  He may be onto something, but this work is too easily dismissed with a casual wave of the hand.  A good read at 60 pages, but I'm glad it wasn't longer, given the quality.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

    Interesting and Thought Provoking

    Though I have only recently read this book I found much of it to be still thought provoking. Cowen introduces his ideas in common layman's terms yet they are provocative and engage the reader! I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    Excellent

    Scholarly economics-based summary of societal evolution that is contributing to resource polarization. Especially important points are lack of true innovation in favor of redundancy. Now with IPO of Twitter, wonder how many ways does 13 year old NEED to say 'wha's up'?

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    EH

    Says it all...EH! Don't bother.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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