The Rise and Fall of American Growth
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|Author||: Robert J. Gordon|
|Editor||: Princeton University Press|
In the century after the Civil War, an economic revolution improved the American standard of living in ways previously unimaginable. Electric lighting, indoor plumbing, motor vehicles, air travel, and television transformed households and workplaces. But has that era of unprecedented growth come to an end? Weaving together a vivid narrative, historical anecdotes, and economic analysis, The Rise and Fall of American Growth challenges the view that economic growth will continue unabated, and demonstrates that the life-altering scale of innovations between 1870 and 1970 cannot be repeated. Gordon contends that the nation's productivity growth will be further held back by the headwinds of rising inequality, stagnating education, an aging population, and the rising debt of college students and the federal government, and that we must find new solutions. A critical voice in the most pressing debates of our time, The Rise and Fall of American Growth is at once a tribute to a century of radical change and a harbinger of tougher times to come.
|Author||: Robert J. Gordon|
|Editor||: Princeton University Press|
How America's high standard of living came to be and why future growth is under threat In the century after the Civil War, an economic revolution improved the American standard of living in ways previously unimaginable. Electric lighting, indoor plumbing, motor vehicles, air travel, and television transformed households and workplaces. But has that era of unprecedented growth come to an end? Weaving together a vivid narrative, historical anecdotes, and economic analysis, The Rise and Fall of American Growth challenges the view that economic growth will continue unabated, and demonstrates that the life-altering scale of innovations between 1870 and 1970 cannot be repeated. Robert Gordon contends that the nation's productivity growth will be further held back by the headwinds of rising inequality, stagnating education, an aging population, and the rising debt of college students and the federal government, and that we must find new solutions. A critical voice in the most pressing debates of our time, The Rise and Fall of American Growth is at once a tribute to a century of radical change and a harbinger of tougher times to come.
|Author||: Ross Douthat|
|Editor||: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster|
From the New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Bad Religion, a “clever and stimulating” (The New York Times Book Review) portrait of how our turbulent age is defined by dark forces seemingly beyond our control. Today the Western world seems to be in crisis. But beneath our social media frenzy and reality TV politics, the deeper reality is one of drift, repetition, and dead ends. The Decadent Society explains what happens when a rich and powerful society ceases advancing—how the combination of wealth and technological proficiency with economic stagnation, political stalemates, cultural exhaustion, and demographic decline creates a strange kind of “sustainable decadence,” a civilizational languor that could endure for longer than we think. Ranging from our grounded space shuttles to our Silicon Valley villains, from our blandly recycled film and television—a new Star Wars saga, another Star Trek series, the fifth Terminator sequel—to the escapism we’re furiously chasing through drug use and virtual reality, Ross Douthat argues that many of today’s discontents and derangements reflect a sense of futility and disappointment—a feeling that the future was not what was promised and that the paths forward lead only to the grave. In this environment we fear catastrophe, but in a certain way we also pine for it—because the alternative is to accept that we are permanently decadent: aging, comfortable, and stuck, cut off from the past and no longer confident in the future, spurning both memory and ambition while we wait for some saving innovation or revelations, growing old unhappily together in the glowing light of tiny screens. “Full of shrewd insights couched in elegant, biting prose…[this] is a trenchant and stimulating take on latter-day discontents” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) and an enlightening diagnosis of the modern condition—how we got here, how long our frustration might last, and how, whether in renaissance or catastrophe, our decadence might ultimately end.
|Author||: Jonathan Gruber,Simon Johnson|
The untold story of how America once created the most successful economy the world has ever seen and how we can do it again. The American economy glitters on the outside, but the reality is quite different. Job opportunities and economic growth are increasingly concentrated in a few crowded coastal enclaves. Corporations and investors are disproportionately developing technologies that benefit the wealthiest Americans in the most prosperous areas--and destroying middle class jobs elsewhere. To turn this tide, we must look to a brilliant and all-but-forgotten American success story and embark on a plan that will create the industries of the future--and the jobs that go with them. Beginning in 1940, massive public investment generated breakthroughs in science and technology that first helped win WWII and then created the most successful economy the world has ever seen. Private enterprise then built on these breakthroughs to create new industries--such as radar, jet engines, digital computers, mobile telecommunications, life-saving medicines, and the internet-- that became the catalyst for broader economic growth that generated millions of good jobs. We lifted almost all boats, not just the yachts. Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson tell the story of this first American growth engine and provide the blueprint for a second. It's a visionary, pragmatic, sure-to-be controversial plan that will lead to job growth and a new American economy in places now left behind.
|Author||: Dietrich Vollrath|
|Editor||: University of Chicago Press|
Most economists would agree that a thriving economy is synonymous with GDP growth. The more we produce and consume, the higher our living standard and the more resources available to the public. This means that our current era, in which growth has slowed substantially from its postwar highs, has raised alarm bells. But should it? Is growth actually the best way to measure economic success—and does our slowdown indicate economic problems? The counterintuitive answer Dietrich Vollrath offers is: No. Looking at the same facts as other economists, he offers a radically different interpretation. Rather than a sign of economic failure, he argues, our current slowdown is, in fact, a sign of our widespread economic success. Our powerful economy has already supplied so much of the necessary stuff of modern life, brought us so much comfort, security, and luxury, that we have turned to new forms of production and consumption that increase our well-being but do not contribute to growth in GDP. In Fully Grown, Vollrath offers a powerful case to support that argument. He explores a number of important trends in the US economy: including a decrease in the number of workers relative to the population, a shift from a goods-driven economy to a services-driven one, and a decline in geographic mobility. In each case, he shows how their economic effects could be read as a sign of success, even though they each act as a brake of GDP growth. He also reveals what growth measurement can and cannot tell us—which factors are rightly correlated with economic success, which tell us nothing about significant changes in the economy, and which fall into a conspicuously gray area. Sure to be controversial, Fully Grown will reset the terms of economic debate and help us think anew about what a successful economy looks like.
|Author||: Sebastian Mallaby|
The definitive biography of the most important economic statesman of our time Sebastian Mallaby's magisterial biography of Alan Greenspan, the product of over five years of research based on untrammeled access to his subject and his closest professional and personal intimates, brings into vivid focus the mysterious point where the government and the economy meet. To understand Greenspan's story is to see the economic and political landscape of the last 30 years--and the presidency from Reagan to George W. Bush--in a whole new light. As the most influential economic statesman of his age, Greenspan spent a lifetime grappling with a momentous shift: the transformation of finance from the fixed and regulated system of the post-war era to the free-for-all of the past quarter century. The story of Greenspan is also the story of the making of modern finance, for good and for ill. Greenspan's life is a quintessential American success story: raised by a single mother in the Jewish émigré community of Washington Heights, he was a math prodigy who found a niche as a stats-crunching consultant. A master at explaining the economic weather to captains of industry, he translated that skill into advising Richard Nixon in his 1968 campaign. This led to a perch on the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and then to a dazzling array of business and government roles, from which the path to the Fed was relatively clear. A fire-breathing libertarian and disciple of Ayn Rand in his youth who once called the Fed's creation a historic mistake, Mallaby shows how Greenspan reinvented himself as a pragmatist once in power. In his analysis, and in his core mission of keeping inflation in check, he was a maestro indeed, and hailed as such. At his retirement in 2006, he was lauded as the age's necessary man, the veritable God in the machine, the global economy's avatar. His memoirs sold for record sums to publishers around the world. But then came 2008. Mallaby's story lands with both feet on the great crash which did so much to damage Alan Greenspan's reputation. Mallaby argues that the conventional wisdom is off base: Greenspan wasn't a naïve ideologue who believed greater regulation was unnecessary. He had pressed for greater regulation of some key areas of finance over the years, and had gotten nowhere. To argue that he didn't know the risks in irrational markets is to miss the point. He knew more than almost anyone; the question is why he didn't act, and whether anyone else could or would have. A close reading of Greenspan's life provides fascinating answers to these questions, answers whose lessons we would do well to heed. Because perhaps Mallaby's greatest lesson is that economic statesmanship, like political statesmanship, is the art of the possible. The Man Who Knew is a searching reckoning with what exactly comprised the art, and the possible, in the career of Alan Greenspan.
|Author||: Rana Foroohar|
"Award-winning business journalist Rana Foroohar shows how the shortsighted and misguided financial practices that nearly toppled the global economy in 2008 have come to infiltrate all corners of American business--putting us on a dangerous collision course to another economic meltdown that will make 2008 look like a mere blip in the business cycle"--
|Author||: Alan Greenspan,Adrian Wooldridge|
From the legendary former Fed Chairman and the acclaimed Economist writer and historian, the full, epic story of America's evolution from a small patchwork of threadbare colonies to the most powerful engine of wealth and innovation the world has ever seen. Shortlisted for the 2018 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award From even the start of his fabled career, Alan Greenspan was duly famous for his deep understanding of even the most arcane corners of the American economy, and his restless curiosity to know even more. To the extent possible, he has made a science of understanding how the US economy works almost as a living organism--how it grows and changes, surges and stalls. He has made a particular study of the question of productivity growth, at the heart of which is the riddle of innovation. Where does innovation come from, and how does it spread through a society? And why do some eras see the fruits of innovation spread more democratically, and others, including our own, see the opposite? In Capitalism in America, Greenspan distills a lifetime of grappling with these questions into a thrilling and profound master reckoning with the decisive drivers of the US economy over the course of its history. In partnership with the celebrated Economist journalist and historian Adrian Wooldridge, he unfolds a tale involving vast landscapes, titanic figures, triumphant breakthroughs, enlightenment ideals as well as terrible moral failings. Every crucial debate is here--from the role of slavery in the antebellum Southern economy to the real impact of FDR's New Deal to America's violent mood swings in its openness to global trade and its impact. But to read Capitalism in America is above all to be stirred deeply by the extraordinary productive energies unleashed by millions of ordinary Americans that have driven this country to unprecedented heights of power and prosperity. At heart, the authors argue, America's genius has been its unique tolerance for the effects of creative destruction, the ceaseless churn of the old giving way to the new, driven by new people and new ideas. Often messy and painful, creative destruction has also lifted almost all Americans to standards of living unimaginable to even the wealthiest citizens of the world a few generations past. A sense of justice and human decency demands that those who bear the brunt of the pain of change be protected, but America has always accepted more pain for more gain, and its vaunted rise cannot otherwise be understood, or its challenges faced, without recognizing this legacy. For now, in our time, productivity growth has stalled again, stirring up the populist furies. There's no better moment to apply the lessons of history to the most pressing question we face, that of whether the United States will preserve its preeminence, or see its leadership pass to other, inevitably less democratic powers.
|Author||: Mancur Olson|
|Editor||: Yale University Press|
A leading political economist advances a new theory to explain the postwar shifts in the relative economic fortunes and positions of various nations and regions.
|Author||: Geoffrey West|
"This is science writing as wonder and as inspiration." —The Wall Street Journal Wall Street Journal From one of the most influential scientists of our time, a dazzling exploration of the hidden laws that govern the life cycle of everything from plants and animals to the cities we live in. Visionary physicist Geoffrey West is a pioneer in the field of complexity science, the science of emergent systems and networks. The term “complexity” can be misleading, however, because what makes West’s discoveries so beautiful is that he has found an underlying simplicity that unites the seemingly complex and diverse phenomena of living systems, including our bodies, our cities and our businesses. Fascinated by aging and mortality, West applied the rigor of a physicist to the biological question of why we live as long as we do and no longer. The result was astonishing, and changed science: West found that despite the riotous diversity in mammals, they are all, to a large degree, scaled versions of each other. If you know the size of a mammal, you can use scaling laws to learn everything from how much food it eats per day, what its heart-rate is, how long it will take to mature, its lifespan, and so on. Furthermore, the efficiency of the mammal’s circulatory systems scales up precisely based on weight: if you compare a mouse, a human and an elephant on a logarithmic graph, you find with every doubling of average weight, a species gets 25% more efficient—and lives 25% longer. Fundamentally, he has proven, the issue has to do with the fractal geometry of the networks that supply energy and remove waste from the organism’s body. West’s work has been game-changing for biologists, but then he made the even bolder move of exploring his work’s applicability. Cities, too, are constellations of networks and laws of scalability relate with eerie precision to them. Recently, West has applied his revolutionary work to the business world. This investigation has led to powerful insights into why some companies thrive while others fail. The implications of these discoveries are far-reaching, and are just beginning to be explored. Scale is a thrilling scientific adventure story about the elemental natural laws that bind us together in simple but profound ways. Through the brilliant mind of Geoffrey West, we can envision how cities, companies and biological life alike are dancing to the same simple, powerful tune.
|Author||: Niall Ferguson|
The author of The Pity of War argues that America is both economically and militarily the most powerful empire in history and will feel negative consequences globally and domestically as a result of imposing unrealistic timescales on interventions abroad. Reprint.
|Author||: Geir Lundestad|
|Editor||: OUP Oxford|
The Rise and Decline of the American "Empire" explores the rapidly growing literature on the rise and fall of the United States. The author argues that after 1945 the US has definitely been the most dominant power the world has seen and that it has successfully met the challenges from, first, the Soviet Union and, then, Japan, and the European Union. Now, however, the United States is in decline: its vast military power is being challenged by asymmetrical wars, its economic growth is slow and its debt is rising rapidly, the political system is proving unable to meet these challenges in a satisfactory way. While the US is still likely to remain the world's leading power for the foreseeable future, it is being challenged by China, particularly economically, and also by several other regional Great Powers. The book also addresses the more theoretical question of what recent superpowers have been able to achieve and what they have not achieved. How could the United States be both the dominant power and at the same time suffer significant defeats? And how could the Soviet Union suddenly collapse? No power has ever been omnipotent. It cannot control events all around the world. The Soviet Union suffered from imperial overstretch; the traditional colonial empires suffered from a growing lack of legitimacy at the international, national, and local levels. The United States has been able to maintain its alliance system, but only in a much reformed way. If a small power simply insists on pursuing its own very different policies, there is normally little the United States and other Great Powers will do. Military intervention is an option that can be used only rarely and most often with strikingly limited results.
|Author||: Lynn G. Gref|
|Editor||: Algora Publishing|
He contrasts the commonly-held perception that the pace of technology is accelerating with the historical record. He highlights the people and the organizations which are responsible for America's technological largesse. The book "follows the money" to uncover the underlying trends. The beginning of a decline in technology development is detected using indirect indicators for clues. Impacts on the formation of companies, employment and productivity provide sobering reasons to enlighten others and demand a change in course. After considering the possibilities, the book proposes several constructive actions which avoid the proverbial tendency to "throw more money at the problem." The goal of the book is to provoke discussion and promote action where appropriate. Americans' standard of living is at stake. Tech-savvy readers will want to understand this issue so as to influence others. Long-range thinkers will want to factor these considerations into their prognostications. The titans of the technology-based companies can develop new and improved strategies based on the findings of this book. And, our elected officials may want to act before a catastrophic disaster confronts the nation. This book will strike a chord with everyone who is interested in America's future economic health. Specific audience groups include scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, employees in technology based companies, government and corporate policymakers deciding the future of research and development (R&D) programs, government workers involved in the execution of government R&D programs and those thinking about a career in R&D. It is complementary to such works as Politics and Economics in America: The Way We Came to Be, by Richard E. Carmichael (Krieger Publishing Company, 1998), which explores political and economic history in order to explain the emergence of the United States' world economic dominance. Carmichael's book makes recommendations on how government could assist America's businesses in maintaining our economic leadership, but it does not address any aspects of technology development and associated issues. Closing the Innovation Gap by Judy Estrin (McGraw Hill, 2009), provides business leaders with concepts for leading their organizations so as to close the innovation gap with competitors. It focuses on the innovation environment within the organization, whereas Dr. Gref addresses the complete technology development cycle, its financing, America's rise to global dominance, and the specter of a national decline.
|Author||: Paul Kennedy|
|Editor||: Penguin UK|
Paul Kennedy's classic naval history, now updated with a new introduction by the author This acclaimed book traces Britain's rise and fall as a sea power from the Tudors to the present day. Challenging the traditional view that the British are natural 'sons of the waves', he suggests instead that the country's fortunes as a significant maritime force have always been bound up with its economic growth. In doing so, he contributes significantly to the centuries-long debate between 'continental' and 'maritime' schools of strategy over Britain's policy in times of war. Setting British naval history within a framework of national, international, economic, political and strategic considerations, he offers a fresh approach to one of the central questions in British history. A new introduction extends his analysis into the twenty-first century and reflects on current American and Chinese ambitions for naval mastery. 'Excellent and stimulating' Correlli Barnett 'The first scholar to have set the sweep of British Naval history against the background of economic history' Michael Howard, Sunday Times 'By far the best study that has ever been done on the subject ... a sparkling and apt quotation on practically every page' Daniel A. Baugh, International History Review 'The best single-volume study of Britain and her naval past now available to us' Jon Sumida, Journal of Modern History
|Author||: Jefferson Cowie|
|Editor||: Princeton University Press|
Where does the New Deal fit in the big picture of American history? What does it mean for us today? What happened to the economic equality it once engendered? In The Great Exception, Jefferson Cowie provides new answers to these important questions. In the period between the Great Depression and the 1970s, he argues, the United States government achieved a unique level of equality, using its considerable resources on behalf of working Americans in ways that it had not before and has not since. If there is to be a comparable battle for collective economic rights today, Cowie argues, it needs to build on an understanding of the unique political foundation for the New Deal. Anyone who wants to come to terms with the politics of inequality in the United States will need to read The Great Exception.
|Author||: Ian Goldin,Chris Kutarna|
|Editor||: St. Martin's Press|
The present is a contest between the bright and dark sides of discovery. To avoid being torn apart by its stresses, we need to recognize the fact—and gain courage and wisdom from the past. Age of Discovery shows how. Now is the best moment in history to be alive, but we have never felt more anxious or divided. Human health, aggregate wealth and education are flourishing. Scientific discovery is racing forward. But the same global flows of trade, capital, people and ideas that make gains possible for some people deliver big losses to others—and make us all more vulnerable to one another. Business and science are working giant revolutions upon our societies, but our politics and institutions evolve at a much slower pace. That’s why, in a moment when everyone ought to be celebrating giant global gains, many of us are righteously angry at being left out and stressed about where we’re headed. To make sense of present shocks, we need to step back and recognize: we’ve been here before. The first Renaissance, the time of Columbus, Copernicus, Gutenberg and others, likewise redrew all maps of the world, democratized communication and sparked a flourishing of creative achievement. But their world also grappled with the same dark side of rapid change: social division, political extremism, insecurity, pandemics and other unintended consequences of discovery. Now is the second Renaissance. We can still flourish—if we learn from the first.
|Author||: Tyler Cowen|
Tyler Cowen’s controversial New York Times bestseller—the book heard round the world that ignited a firestorm of debate and redefined the nature of America’s economic malaise. America has been through the biggest financial crisis since the great Depression, unemployment numbers are frightening, media wages have been flat since the 1970s, and it is common to expect that things will get worse before they get better. Certainly, the multidecade stagnation is not yet over. How will we get out of this mess? One political party tries to increase government spending even when we have no good plan for paying for ballooning programs like Medicare and Social Security. The other party seems to think tax cuts will raise revenue and has a record of creating bigger fiscal disasters that the first. Where does this madness come from? As Cowen argues, our economy has enjoyed low-hanging fruit since the seventeenth century: free land, immigrant labor, and powerful new technologies. But during the last forty years, the 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. The fruit trees are barer than we want to believe. That's it. That is what has gone wrong and that is why our politics is crazy. In The Great Stagnation, Cowen reveals the underlying causes of our past prosperity and how we will generate it again. This is a passionate call for a new respect of scientific innovations that benefit not only the powerful elites, but humanity as a whole.
|Author||: William Greider|
Asserts that America is straying from its democratic ideals and faltering in a rapidly globalized world community, and challenges policies that are based on a priority of making America "number one" in the world while examining the economic and politicalforces that have brought about contemporary problems.
|Author||: Robert M. Fogelson|
|Editor||: Yale University Press|
Annotation Downtown is the first history of what was once viewed as the heart of the American city. Urban historian Robert Fogelson gives a riveting account of how downtown--and the way Americans thought about it--changed between 1880 and 1950. Recreating battles over subways and skyscrapers, the introduction of elevated highways and parking bans, and other controversies, this book provides a new and often starling perspective on downtown's rise and fall.