X-Message-Number: 33298
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2011 08:03:04 -0700
Subject: Tyler Cowen on "The Great Stagnation"
From: MARK PLUS <>

I'd like to thank Aschwin de Wolf for the reference.

Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University, has recently
published a pamphlet-sized ebook, available through both Amazon and
Barnes & Noble, titled "The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All The
Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually)
Feel Better." Given Cowen's rising status as a public intellectual, it
has already generated considerable discussion in the blogosphere:




Parts of Cowen's tract sound like things I could have written about
that other 21st Century we thought we'd have by now. For example:

"Today, in contrast, apart from the seemingly magical internet, life
in broad material terms isn't so different from what it was in 1953.
We still drive cars, use refrigerators, and turn on the light switch,
even if dimmers are more common these days. The wonders portrayed in
The Jetsons, the space-age television cartoon from the 1960's, have
not come to pass. You don't have a jet pack. You won't live forever or
visit a Mars colony. Life is better and we have more stuff, but the
pace of change has slowed down compared to what people saw two or
three generations ago."

I've had the sense for about 20 years now that economic and
technological progress in the U.S. has broken down somehow. I even
tried to draw the attention of the cryonics community to this trend
circa 1993, but the idea at the time met with resistance and denial.
Perhaps after another couple of decades of the Great Stagnation, we
can start to have a rational discussion of what this trend means for
cryonics. Cowen argues that we've merely gotten stuck on a plateau,
and that the U.S. will bounce off of it "eventually" (when? in how
many more generations?), and resume the high rates of economic growth
and technological innovation seen in the 20th Century.

Of course, that cryonics-helpful outcome doesn't necessarily have to
happen. "Past performance doesn't guarantee future results," and,
"People don't eat 'in the long run', they eat every day."

Cowen charges $4.00 for his tract. If you have a Kindle or a Nook, you
can purchase it and read it for yourself in a couple of hours.

Mark Plus
Life is short: Freeze hard!

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