Human Capitalism: How Economic Growth Has Made Us Smarter--and More Unequal

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Overview

"Human Capitalism is a compelling and important account of how and why people are being left behind in an increasingly complex economy. This is a 'big think' book that is both deeper and broader than the usual polemical arguments about inequality. Regardless of which side of the political divide you sit on, Lindsey will likely stimulate and infuriate you in equal measure."—Tyler Cowen, author of The Great Stagnation

"Rising income inequality is an issue society can no longer afford to ignore. This book deepens ...

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Human Capitalism: How Economic Growth Has Made Us Smarter--and More Unequal

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Overview

"Human Capitalism is a compelling and important account of how and why people are being left behind in an increasingly complex economy. This is a 'big think' book that is both deeper and broader than the usual polemical arguments about inequality. Regardless of which side of the political divide you sit on, Lindsey will likely stimulate and infuriate you in equal measure."—Tyler Cowen, author of The Great Stagnation

"Rising income inequality is an issue society can no longer afford to ignore. This book deepens our understanding of the forces behind the problem and is bound to stimulate useful discussion of it."—Robert H. Frank, author of The Darwin Economy

"Providing an evenhanded approach to the heated issues surrounding human capital, this is a very strong and unusually well-written book that is also remarkable for squeezing so much into so few pages and making a wide range of scholarship accessible to general readers."—Steven Teles, Johns Hopkins University

"America's economic future isn't really about the top tax rate or entitlement spending. Rather, it is about our skills, our character, and our ability to form relationships that can help us navigate a more complex and chaotic world. That is the central insight of Brink Lindsey's Human Capitalism, which in a few short pages upends conventional understandings of how culture and economics intertwine—and what we should do about it."—Reihan Salam, co-author of Grand New Party

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Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal
Mr. Lindsey, formerly with the Cato Institute, is one of the most engaging libertarian writers. Here he seeks to address a much-talked about problem: While many Americans are becoming wealthier by joining the ranks of 'managers, professionals and entrepreneurs,' and the working class is not shrinking, those who remain in the dwindling middle find it harder to break into the so-called knowledge economy. . . . [I]t takes a special kind of talent to write about public policies like these in a way that doesn't put you to sleep, and he has that talent.
— Barton Swaim
Econlog
All of Brink's specific proposals are reasonable. . . . I really like the book . . .
— Arnold Kling
City Journal
Think about the mind-boggling number of e-mails, phone calls, and text messages that Americans send each other every day, and you'll realize that our lives have become more complex and interconnected than ever before. However, some social groups have fallen behind in the increasingly complex modern economy. In his short and highly readable book, Brink Lindsey tries to explain why this happened and what can be done about it.
— Dalibor Rohac
Sunday Times
Fascinating. . . . Lindsey suggests the problem of inequality is even more intractable than the pessimists had thought. He argues that the leitmotif of the post-industrial economy is growing complexity: there is more knowledge to acquire, more institutions to deal with and more choices to make. Success increasingly depends on your ability to master complexity, which in turn depends on your ability to master abstraction.
— Adrian Wooldridge
Forbes.com
Brink argues that there's plenty of potential for growth at the top of the economy, as reflected in the growing college wage premium. The problem is that even as the financial rewards to education continue to grow, the fraction of the population graduating from college has stagnated. . . . [I]nteresting . . .
— Timothy B. Lee
Wall Street Journal - Barton Swaim
Mr. Lindsey, formerly with the Cato Institute, is one of the most engaging libertarian writers. Here he seeks to address a much-talked about problem: While many Americans are becoming wealthier by joining the ranks of 'managers, professionals and entrepreneurs,' and the working class is not shrinking, those who remain in the dwindling middle find it harder to break into the so-called knowledge economy. . . . [I]t takes a special kind of talent to write about public policies like these in a way that doesn't put you to sleep, and he has that talent.
Econlog - Arnold Kling
All of Brink's specific proposals are reasonable. . . . I really like the book . . .
Sunday Times - Adrian Wooldridge
Fascinating. . . . Lindsey suggests the problem of inequality is even more intractable than the pessimists had thought. He argues that the leitmotif of the post-industrial economy is growing complexity: there is more knowledge to acquire, more institutions to deal with and more choices to make. Success increasingly depends on your ability to master complexity, which in turn depends on your ability to master abstraction.
Economist.com's Free Exchange blog
It's short and cheap and very interesting, and I recommend it. . . . I find Mr. Lindsey's emphasis on complexity and networks very appealing.
City Journal - Dalibor Rohac
Think about the mind-boggling number of e-mails, phone calls, and text messages that Americans send each other every day, and you'll realize that our lives have become more complex and interconnected than ever before. However, some social groups have fallen behind in the increasingly complex modern economy. In his short and highly readable book, Brink Lindsey tries to explain why this happened and what can be done about it.
Forbes.com - Timothy B. Lee
Brink argues that there's plenty of potential for growth at the top of the economy, as reflected in the growing college wage premium. The problem is that even as the financial rewards to education continue to grow, the fraction of the population graduating from college has stagnated. . . . [I]nteresting . . .
From the Publisher
"Mr. Lindsey, formerly with the Cato Institute, is one of the most engaging libertarian writers. Here he seeks to address a much-talked about problem: While many Americans are becoming wealthier by joining the ranks of 'managers, professionals and entrepreneurs,' and the working class is not shrinking, those who remain in the dwindling middle find it harder to break into the so-called knowledge economy. . . . [I]t takes a special kind of talent to write about public policies like these in a way that doesn't put you to sleep, and he has that talent."—Barton Swaim, Wall Street Journal

"All of Brink's specific proposals are reasonable. . . . I really like the book . . ."—Arnold Kling, Econlog

"Fascinating. . . . Lindsey suggests the problem of inequality is even more intractable than the pessimists had thought. He argues that the leitmotif of the post-industrial economy is growing complexity: there is more knowledge to acquire, more institutions to deal with and more choices to make. Success increasingly depends on your ability to master complexity, which in turn depends on your ability to master abstraction."—Adrian Wooldridge, Sunday Times

"It's short and cheap and very interesting, and I recommend it. . . . I find Mr. Lindsey's emphasis on complexity and networks very appealing."—Economist.com's Free Exchange blog

"Think about the mind-boggling number of e-mails, phone calls, and text messages that Americans send each other every day, and you'll realize that our lives have become more complex and interconnected than ever before. However, some social groups have fallen behind in the increasingly complex modern economy. In his short and highly readable book, Brink Lindsey tries to explain why this happened and what can be done about it."—Dalibor Rohac, City Journal

"Brink argues that there's plenty of potential for growth at the top of the economy, as reflected in the growing college wage premium. The problem is that even as the financial rewards to education continue to grow, the fraction of the population graduating from college has stagnated. . . . [I]nteresting . . ."—Timothy B. Lee, Forbes.com

"Human Capitalism is a powerful and timely analysis of American inequality. While Lindsey acknowledges a serious problem, he also makes a convincing case that the government's approach to fixing it should be guided by essentially capitalist principles."—Yevgeniy Feyman, City Journal

"Brief, clear and forthright."—World Book Industry

Adrian Wooldridge

Fascinating. . . . Lindsey suggests the problem of inequality is even more intractable than the pessimists had thought. He argues that the leitmotif of the post-industrial economy is growing complexity: there is more knowledge to acquire, more institutions to deal with and more choices to make. Success increasingly depends on your ability to master complexity, which in turn depends on your ability to master abstraction.
Barton Swaim

Mr. Lindsey, formerly with the Cato Institute, is one of the most engaging libertarian writers. Here he seeks to address a much-talked about problem: While many Americans are becoming wealthier by joining the ranks of 'managers, professionals and entrepreneurs,' and the working class is not shrinking, those who remain in the dwindling middle find it harder to break into the so-called knowledge economy. . . . [I]t takes a special kind of talent to write about public policies like these in a way that doesn't put you to sleep, and he has that talent.
Arnold Kling

All of Brink's specific proposals are reasonable. . . . I really like the book . . .
Timothy B. Lee

Brink argues that there's plenty of potential for growth at the top of the economy, as reflected in the growing college wage premium. The problem is that even as the financial rewards to education continue to grow, the fraction of the population graduating from college has stagnated. . . . [I]nteresting . . .
Economist.com's Free Exchange blog

It's short and cheap and very interesting, and I recommend it. . . . I find Mr. Lindsey's emphasis on complexity and networks very appealing.
Dalibor Rohac

Think about the mind-boggling number of e-mails, phone calls, and text messages that Americans send each other every day, and you'll realize that our lives have become more complex and interconnected than ever before. However, some social groups have fallen behind in the increasingly complex modern economy. In his short and highly readable book, Brink Lindsey tries to explain why this happened and what can be done about it.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691157320
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 5/5/2013
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 814,965
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Brink Lindsey is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a consultant for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. He is the author of "The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America's Politics and Culture" (Collins) and "Against the Dead Hand: The Uncertain Struggle for Global Capitalism" (Wiley).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 1
One: The Rise of Complexity 6
Two: The Abstract Art of Modern Living 12
Three: Capitalism with a Human Face 23
Four: Class and Consciousness 31
Five: Inequality as a Culture Gap 41
Six: From Convergence to Polarization 55
Seven: Reforming Human Capitalism 71
Eight: What Lies Ahead 98
Notes 117
Index 131

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