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.
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Tyler Cowen's The Great Stagnation, the eSpecial heard round the world that ignited a firestorm of debate and redefined the nature of our economic malaise, is now-at last-a book. 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. 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.
The groundbreaking follow-up to the New York Times bestseller The Great Stagnation The United States continues to mint more millionaires and billionaires than any country ever. Yet, since the great recession, three quarters of the jobs created here pay only marginally more than minimum wage. Why is there growth only at the top and the bottom? Renowned economist and bestselling author Tyler Cowen explains that high earners are taking ever more advantage of machine intelligence and achieving ever-better results. Meanwhile, nearly every business sector relies less and less on manual labor, and that means a steady, secure life somewhere in the middle—average—is over. In Average is Over, Cowen lays out how the new economy works and identifies what workers and entrepreneurs young and old must do to thrive in this radically new economic landscape.
As the global Great Recession continues, policymakers, economists, and the public are turning to Japenses economic revitalization for answers. Paul Krugman, Nobel laureate in Economics, once said that Japan was a "full-dress rehearsal for the current crisis." Japan has experienced and valiantly overcome the burst of their Bubble economy, financial crisis, lukewarm recovery, and more than a decade-long deflation and stagnation to become one of the most stable economies today. Japan's Great Stagnation and Abenomics reveals the striking similarities of economic events and policies between the Great Stagnation and the current Great Recession. It also suggests possible dangers ahead and way-outs in the future. This exciting new volume is based on Wakatabe's expertise in economic history and the history of economic ideas and argues that any policy decision is related to cultural ideology. An investigation into the relationship between cultural ideology and policy helps us better understand the policy-making process.
'Recent events have rendered Japan's lost decades all the more relevant to the rest of us. Rick Garside, in this wide-ranging and accessible account, explores the political economy of Japan's great stagnation with an eye toward describing how other advanced economies can avoid going down the same path.' – Barry Eichengreen, University of California, Berkeley, US 'Professor Garside's timely book transcends the national preoccupation suggested by its title. From one viewpoint this is a case study (admittedly on a grand scale) of the experience of one country in one historical period. But in analyzing the dynamic relationship between Japan's post-war economic miracle and its chronic stagnation from the 1990's he offers a penetrating insight into the links between profound and embedded institutional and ideological influences, global upheaval, and almost disastrous national economic performance. Hence, Japan's Great Stagnation – the unfolding story of that country's declining experience from masterful economic power to seeming economic paralysis – provides us with an all-too familiar scenario with which to approach the contemporaneous ills of the world's developed economies. The interaction between banking crises, unwieldy institutions (especially, but not only, financial institutions), policy frailties, and stagnating demand – all conspired to create crisis and then handicap or prevent recovery. And the familiarity of the story is aggravated by the global financial crisis which now threatens to engulf us. History never fully repeats itself, but Professor Garside's illuminating examination of Japan's recent experiences must surely provide important points of relevance for the world's current malaise. He is to be congratulated on the depth and scope of what he has achieved – and for its relevance to what we are experiencing.' – Barry Supple, University of Cambridge, UK This timely book presents a critical examination of the developmental premises of Japan's high-growth success and its subsequent drift into recession, stagnation and piecemeal reform. The country, which within a few decades of wartime defeat mounted a serious challenge to American hegemony, appeared incapable of fully adjusting to shifting economic circumstance once the impulses of catch-up growth and the good fortune of an accommodating international environment faded. The banking crises, spiralling government debt, and stagnant growth experienced by major industrialized nations in recent years have evoked renewed interest in Japan's economic denouement since the 1990s. To many, Japan's drift into recession and financial crisis during the early 1990s, and later into stagnation and prolonged deflation, demonstrated precisely what not to do when fashioning remedial policy. This book details the legacies of Japan's high-growth success and how they affected Japan's capacity to cope with shifting national and international circumstance from the 1980s. It reviews the contentious debates over the causes and consequences of the 'bubble economy' and the 'lost decade', and assesses the extent to which reforms since 1997 have been compromised by lingering attachments to Japan's distinctive post-war political economy. Providing an analytical overview of both the high growth and recessionary periods and of subsequent reform agendas, this timely book will appeal to students, academics and researchers of economic history, development and politics, particularly those with an interest in Japan and Asian studies more generally.
A Wall Street Journal and Washington Post Bestseller "Tyler Cowen's blog, Marginal Revolution, is the first thing I read every morning. And his brilliant new book, The Complacent Class, has been on my nightstand after I devoured it in one sitting. I am at round-the-clock Cowen saturation right now."--Malcolm Gladwell Since Alexis de Tocqueville, restlessness has been accepted as a signature American trait. Our willingness to move, take risks, and adapt to change have produced a dynamic economy and a tradition of innovation from Ben Franklin to Steve Jobs. The problem, according to legendary blogger, economist and best selling author Tyler Cowen, is that Americans today have broken from this tradition—we’re working harder than ever to avoid change. We're moving residences less, marrying people more like ourselves and choosing our music and our mates based on algorithms that wall us off from anything that might be too new or too different. Match.com matches us in love. Spotify and Pandora match us in music. Facebook matches us to just about everything else. Of course, this “matching culture” brings tremendous positives: music we like, partners who make us happy, neighbors who want the same things. We’re more comfortable. But, according to Cowen, there are significant collateral downsides attending this comfort, among them heightened inequality and segregation and decreased incentives to innovate and create. The Complacent Class argues that this cannot go on forever. We are postponing change, due to our near-sightedness and extreme desire for comfort, but ultimately this will make change, when it comes, harder. The forces unleashed by the Great Stagnation will eventually lead to a major fiscal and budgetary crisis: impossibly expensive rentals for our most attractive cities, worsening of residential segregation, and a decline in our work ethic. The only way to avoid this difficult future is for Americans to force themselves out of their comfortable slumber—to embrace their restless tradition again.
Experts on the Japanese economy examine Japan's prolonged period of economic underperformance, analyzing the ways in which the financial system, monetary policy, and international financial factors contributed to its onset and duration. After experiencing spectacular economic growth and industrial development for much of the postwar era, Japan plunged abruptly into recession in the early 1990s and since then has suffered a prolonged period of economic stagnation, from which it is only now emerging. Japan's malaise, marked by recession or weak economic activity, commodity and asset price deflation, banking failures, increased bankruptcies, and rising unemployment, has been the most sustained economic downturn seen in the industrial world since the 1930s. In Japan's Great Stagnation, experts on the Japanese economy consider key questions about the causes and effects of Japan's prolonged period of economic underperformance and what other advanced economies might learn from Japan's experience. They focus on aspects of the financial and banking system that have contributed to economic stagnation, the role of monetary policy, and the importance of international financial factors--in particular, the exchange rate and the balance of payments. Among the topics discussed are bank fragility and the inaccuracy of measuring it by the "Japan premium," the consequences of weak banking regulation, the controversial policy of "quantitative easing," and the effectiveness of currency devaluation for fighting deflation. Taken together, the contributions demonstrate the importance of a sound financial sector in fostering robust growth and healthy economies--and the enormous economic costs of a dysfunctional financial system. Contributors Yoichi Arai, Robert Dekle, Zekeriya Eser, Eiji Fujii, Kimie Harada, Takeo Hoshi, Michael M. Hutchison, Takatoshi Ito, Ken Kletzer, Nikolas Müller-Plantenberg, Kunio Okina, Joe Peek, Eric S. Rosengren, Shigenori Shiratsuka, Mark M. Spiegel, Frank Westermann, Nobuyoshi Yamori
The days of boom and bubble are over, and the time has come to understand the long-term economic reality. Although the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, hopes for a new phase of rapid economic expansion were quickly dashed. Instead, growth has been slow, unemployment has remained high, wages and benefits have seen little improvement, poverty has increased, and the trend toward more inequality of incomes and wealth has continued. It appears that the Great Recession has given way to a period of long-term anemic growth, which Foster and McChesney aptly term the Great Stagnation. This incisive and timely book traces the origins of economic stagnation and explains what it means for a clear understanding of our current situation. The authors point out that increasing monopolization of the economy—when a handful of large firms dominate one or several industries—leads to an over-abundance of capital and too few profitable investment opportunities, with economic stagnation as the result. Absent powerful stimuli to investment, such as historic innovations like the automobile or major government spending, modern capitalist economies have become increasingly dependent on the financial sector to realize profits. And while financialization may have provided a temporary respite from stagnation, it is a solution that cannot last indefinitely, as instability in financial markets over the last half-decade has made clear.
An against-the-grain polemic on American capitalism from New York Times bestselling author Tyler Cowen. We love to hate the 800-pound gorilla. Walmart and Amazon destroy communities and small businesses. Facebook turns us into addicts while putting our personal data at risk. From skeptical politicians like Bernie Sanders who, at a 2016 presidential campaign rally said, “If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist,” to millennials, only 42 percent of whom support capitalism, belief in big business is at an all-time low. But are big companies inherently evil? If business is so bad, why does it remain so integral to the basic functioning of America? Economist and bestselling author Tyler Cowen says our biggest problem is that we don’t love business enough. In Big Business, Cowen puts forth an impassioned defense of corporations and their essential role in a balanced, productive, and progressive society. He dismantles common misconceptions and untangles conflicting intuitions. According to a 2016 Gallup survey, only 12 percent of Americans trust big business “quite a lot,” and only 6 percent trust it “a great deal.” Yet Americans as a group are remarkably willing to trust businesses, whether in the form of buying a new phone on the day of its release or simply showing up to work in the expectation they will be paid. Cowen illuminates the crucial role businesses play in spurring innovation, rewarding talent and hard work, and creating the bounty on which we’ve all come to depend.
The global economy is entering an era of protracted stagnation, similar to what Japan has experienced for over a decade. That is the message of this brilliant and controversial summary of our current economic predicament from an internationally respected consultant and commentator on financial markets, who predicted the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. The author challenges the assumption that growth can be perpetual and questions the ability of political leaders to enact the tough structural changes needed. He is particularly critical of the "easy money" approach to dealing with the great recession of 2008, citing the dangers of excessive debt and deep-seated fundamental imbalances. The fallout of these poor policies, he argues, will affect not only the business sector, but also the lifestyles and prosperity of average citizens and future generations. The author concludes with a thought experiment illustrating the large-scale changes that will be necessary to restore economic, financial, and social sustainability. This experiment has already been tried in Iceland, which went bankrupt in the wake of the 2008 crisis, and now, after a painful adjustment, is on the road to recovery. Written for the lay reader and peppered with witty anecdotes, this immensely readable book clearly explains the missteps that created the current dilemma, why a recovery has proved elusive, and the difficult remedies that must eventually be applied to ensure a stable future.