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Analysis Of Tyler Cowen's "The Great Stagnation"

1293 words - 6 pages

According to Tyler Cowen's "The Great Stagnation", the American economy has been through a lot of great changes and innovations since the 1800's but has now slowed down when it comes to growth and is "stagnating" along with other developed economies. Developed countries have been stuck making adjustments to already existing technologies and thus their rate of growth is decreasing steadily and are in need of a new era of a technological breakthrough. Cowen discusses the major problems and factors that have led America to its financial crisis of 2008 and that continue to pose a threat to the economy. Moreover, he uses his analysis to explain why the economy is experiencing such high unemployment and such a long period of recession.
In chapter one, Cowen talks about "low hanging fruits" that he claims the Americans have used up ever since the seventeenth century. Low hanging fruits are the things that were made easily available for Americans to reach back then, such as land, technology and intelligent but uneducated kids. He talks about how land was free for anybody to cultivate and make use of, and this attracted many Europeans and immigrants who took this as a chance to produce a high standard of living for their own work. This in turn made America very wealthy at the time, and Cowen states that "so much fertile land coupled with a relatively high degree of social freedom explains much of this transformation" (Cowen, 2011). Next came technology; the scientific breakthroughs of the century. These included innovations in chemistry, electricity and industry. Household technology appeared to change drastically, as it now contained a long list of new advancements such as laundry machines, air conditioning, televisions, dishwashers, radios, refrigerators, electric light, cheap automobiles, and so on. These changes, he says, are greater in terms of the older generations who had no innovations, such as people like his Grandma who went through a complete breakthrough, while nowadays we just see minimal twists in what already exists. Therefore, we cannot compare ourselves to the older generations who have experienced much more change than we have since the 1960's. Finally, education back then was exploited to the maximum, by educating all smart children and sending them to schools and colleges to help achieve more growth in the economy. These days, Americans rely heavily on the already educated kids to go to university, as they think this will increase their productivity. Cowen argues that in doing so, we are ignoring other opportunities that may assist in this productivity, while we just focus on a shift that will not yield large improvements. Furthermore, the fact that nobody has looked into this dilemma and figured out why America's growth has slowed down, caused political sides to blame each other and come up with different solutions for this problem that will not help, but rather, further worsen the situation. As he stated, "what I like to call the...

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