The Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen
How America Ate All The Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better: A Penguin eSpecial from Dutton

71%

8 Critic Reviews

I don't agree entirely with all of that material, but I think it's safe to say that Mr Cowen's book is an important one that will have a profound impact on the way people think about the last thirty years.
-The Economist

Synopsis

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.
 

About Tyler Cowen

See more books from this Author
Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He is a prominent blogger at marginalrevolution.com, the world’s leading economics blog. He also writes regularly for The New York Times, and has written for Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.
 
Published January 25, 2011 by Dutton. 128 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Great Stagnation
All: 8 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 2

NY Journal of Books

Above average
on Jun 09 2011

One very positive feature...is that it is succinct, accessible, without sacrificing sophistication. As stimulating as is his diagnosis, and as intriguing as are certain of his analyses, overall his arguments are less than persuasive.

Read Full Review of The Great Stagnation: How Ame... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

The Economist

Good
on Jan 27 2011

I don't agree entirely with all of that material, but I think it's safe to say that Mr Cowen's book is an important one that will have a profound impact on the way people think about the last thirty years.

Read Full Review of The Great Stagnation: How Ame... | See more reviews from The Economist

Slate

Above average
on Feb 21 2011

Cowen's book is similarly compelling and lucid in its interpretation of past economic trends. But like Prosperity, The Great Stagnation makes an ambitious argument whose chief present advantage...is that it's impossible to assess in real time.

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Seeking Alpha

Good
on Feb 03 2011

Tyler Cowen’s new book, The Great Stagnation, is terrific. If you want to understand what’s going on with the economy, you should buy it right now.

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The Express Tribune

Good
on Jul 11 2011

In short, this book definitely has an impact on the reader. It is going to change the way we approach and analyse our economic problems.

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Management Today

Above average
on Jul 01 2011

So The Great Stagnation has a point, but it is half a point and comes from a very American perspective. Perhaps I would think differently had I read it in Ohio rather than Guangxi, but I doubt it.

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Mother Jones

Above average
on Jan 31 2011

Tyler makes a bunch of other arguments in "The Great Stagnation" too, some more persuasive than others. Like some other critics, I'm not sure why he uses median wage growth as a proxy for economic growth.

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Labour Uncut

Above average
on Jul 03 2011

Yet Cowen’s scepticism about the place of the state in creating the economy of the future becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. If we follow the logic of the argument of the Great Stagnation then we should also accept its pessimism.

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72%

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