lonely bird Wrote:
There are so many factors at work. Robert Gordon writes about the end of growth due to innovation that does not create jobs and growth on the scale seen from the 19th century through the middle of the twentieth century. Innovation has gone from job-creating to job-destroying. Short term thinking due to financialization as well as intensified globalization has exposed workers everywhere to a race to the bottom. Low skill jobs are being replaced by automation. Higher skilled jobs will suffer the same fate. Charlatans under the guise of populism turn to hatred of “the other” whether Muslims, immigrants, women or just about anyone who isn’t white male to get elected.
Do you want to know the real reason why? People are scared to death of change. When leaders of whatever stripe: political, economic, religious have no solutions that do not involve pain the masses will turn to the charlatan.
lonely bird -- I didn't read Robert Gordon's book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, but I did read the Amazon review and those of several of the readers. I would tend to agree with some of the reviewers who pushed back on his contention about innovation:
"Gordon challenges the view that economic growth can or will continue unabated, and he demonstrates that the life-altering scale of innovations between 1870 and 1970 can't be repeated. He contends that the nation's productivity growth, which has already slowed to a crawl, will be further held back by the vexing headwinds of rising inequality, stagnating education, an aging population, and the rising debt of college students and the federal government. Gordon warns that the younger generation may be the first in American history that fails to exceed their parents' standard of living, and that rather than depend on the great advances of the past, we must find new solutions to overcome the challenges facing us."
Every generation of Americans (as well as European and Asians) have indeed found "new solutions to overcome the challenges facing us." I look at the millennials (those born between 1980 end early 2000s) with admiration for their push back at the sometimes "status quo" of my baby boomer generation. And I look at the tremendous advances in technology and the quality of life since the 1970s...all due to entrepreneurial innovative spirit, much of it by the new millennials and immigrants.
That's not to sweep under the rug the problems of inequality, student debt, and the burden that my aging baby boomer generation will place on the younger generation. Those are real problems, but each generation from our inception has faced difficult problems and learned to overcome them. America will indeed may not grow as fast as the post-war period right after World War II. But is that necessarily bad as we realize the greater cost to society of climate change, inequality, and other factors that slow growth? And once the burden of caring for the aging baby boomer generation (born 1946 and after) dies off, the millennials of today will be the new prosperous middle class primed for big things through innovation and a change in the way they view society and equality.
I know all that may sound corny to some, and will get push back from many people as long as inequality is a product of our capitalist economic well being. Certainly change does not happen over night, and those forces (mainly Republican obstructionism) that are hindering changes in American society today will die off with my generation. I cannot speak for the European, Asian, African or Latin American economies, but recognizing that our global economies are intertwined and dependent on each other is a first step towards a global growth economy.
Let's just not elect any more selfish Trump like obstructionists.
Growth is slowing as it must. Too much called growth is inflation even though the bureaucratic definition of inflation is low. Large scale production caused by the innovations including water purification, wastewater treatment, mass transit, cars, refrigeration etc all were labor-creating. Innovation now is labor destroying.
May I also suggest Stephen D. King’s “Grave New World: The End of Globalization, The Return of History.”