Robert Gordon

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pages: 470 words: 148,730

Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems by Abhijit V. Banerjee, Esther Duflo

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, basic income, Bernie Sanders, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, charter city, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, experimental subject, facts on the ground, fear of failure, financial innovation, George Akerlof, high net worth, immigration reform, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, industrial cluster, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, land reform, loss aversion, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, offshore financial centre, open economy, Paul Samuelson, place-making, price stability, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, smart meter, social graph, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, urban sprawl, very high income, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y2K

Nivola, Agenda for the Nation (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2003), 17–60. 7 Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016), 575, figure 17.2. Annualized TFP growth in the US was 0.46 percent per year between 1880 and 1920 and 1.89 percent per year between 1920 and 1970. 8 Nicholas Crafts, “Fifty Years of Economic Growth in Western Europe: No Longer Catching Up but Falling Behind?,” World Economics 5, no. 2 (2004): 131–45. 9 Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016). 10 Annualized TFP growth in the US was 1.89 percent per year between 1920 and 1970 and 0.57 between 1970 and 1995; Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016), 575, figure 17.2. 11 Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016), 575, figure 17.2.

Annual TFP growth was 0.40 from 2014 to 2014, even lower than the 0.70 annual TFP growth during the 1973–1994 period and the annual 0.46 TFP growth during the 1890–1920 period. 12 “Total Factor Productivity,” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, accessed June 19, 2019, https://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/indicators-data/total-factor-productivity-tfp/. 13 Robert Gordon and Joel Mokyr, “Boom vs. Doom: Debating the Future of the US Economy,” debate, Chicago Council of Global Affairs, October 31, 2016. 14 Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016), 594–603. 15 Robert Gordon and Joel Mokyr, “Boom vs. Doom: Debating the Future of the US Economy,” debate, Chicago Council of Global Affairs, October 31, 2016. 16 Alvin H. Hansen, “Economic Progress and Declining Population Growth,” American Economic Review 29, no. 1 (1939): 1–15. 17 Angus Maddison, Growth and Interaction in the World Economy: The Roots of Modernity (Washington, DC: AEI Press, 2005). 18 Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), 73, table 2.1.

Experimental Evidence from Rural India,” Poverty Action Lab working paper, 2010, accessed June 19, 2019, https://www.povertyactionlab.org/sites/default/files/publications/105_419_Can%20Voters%20be%20Primed_Abhijit_Oct2009.pdf. CHAPTER 5. THE END OF GROWTH? 1 Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016). 2 C. I. Jones, “The Facts of Economic Growth,” in Handbook of Macroeconomics, vol. 2, eds. John B. Taylor and Harald Uhlig (Amsterdam: North Holland, 2016), 3–69. 3 Angus Maddison, “Historical Statistics of the World Economy: 1-2008 AD,” Groningen Growth and Development Centre: Maddison Project Database (2010). 4 Angus Maddison, “Measuring and Interpreting World Economic Performance 1500–2001,” Review of Income and Wealth 51, no. 1 (2005): 1–35, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4991.2005.00143.x. 5 Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016), 258. 6 J.


The Limits of the Market: The Pendulum Between Government and Market by Paul de Grauwe, Anna Asbury

"Robert Solow", banking crisis, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, conceptual framework, crony capitalism, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, Honoré de Balzac, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, means of production, moral hazard, Paul Samuelson, price discrimination, price mechanism, profit motive, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Simon Kuznets, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, very high income

There is also a paradox that has been investigated by Robert Gordon of the University of Wisconsin. He comes to the conclusion that  THE L IMI TS OF TH E MAR KET % 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 1891–1972 1972–1996 1996–2013 Figure .. Annual growth in production per hour in the US (in %) Source: Robert Gordon, ‘The Demise of US Economic Growth: Restatement, Rebuttal, and Reflections’, NBER Working Paper 19895 (February 2014) although the digital revolution is important, it is less so than previous technological revolutions, the railways, telegraphy and telephony, the car, and air travel. These technological revolutions were at least as intrusive as the digital revolution, if not more so. They changed people’s lives more extensively, and according to Robert Gordon, had a larger effect on growth in productivity than the digital revolution of the s.{ Figure . illustrates some aspects of this, showing average annual growth in productivity (production per hour of labour) in the US since .

They changed people’s lives more extensively, and according to Robert Gordon, had a larger effect on growth in productivity than the digital revolution of the s.{ Figure . illustrates some aspects of this, showing average annual growth in productivity (production per hour of labour) in the US since . It is worth noting that the growth in productivity between  and  was around two per cent per year. Since then growth has dropped to less than . per cent per year. So far the digital revolution { See Robert Gordon’s fascinating recent book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The US Standard of Living since the Civil War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, ).  T HE U TO PIA OF SE LF - RE GUL ATIO N of the s has had remarkably little observable effect on growth in productivity in the country where it began. This has led Robert Solow, the great American economist who won the Nobel Prize for his contribution to the theory of economic growth, to the conclusion that the new technologies are visible everywhere except in productivity growth statistics.


pages: 209 words: 53,236

The Scandal of Money by George Gilder

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, Donald Trump, fiat currency, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Home mortgage interest deduction, index fund, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflation targeting, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, secular stagnation, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, special drawing rights, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, winner-take-all economy, yield curve, zero-sum game

Following a vanguard of scientific activists and economic celebrities, we have arrived at a consensus that the American Dream is a deadly burden for the planet. The very biosphere is said to groan under the weight of American exceptionalism. And the entire globe runs up against what Malthusian fashion-plate pundits call a World Technological Frontier. All entrepreneurial and technological ventures, according to a canonical paper by the productivity theorist Robert Gordon, face the closing of the world’s “productivity frontier.” In a dismal account of the limits to growth, Gordon foresees productivity’s running into six “headwinds”—demography (slowing of workforce growth), education (diminishing returns of learning as schooling spreads), inequality (with 52 percent of income gains siphoned off to the “One Percent”), globalization (the worldwide reach of U.S. technology pushing down U.S. pay), energy and the environment (“global warming” halting the huge historic growth contributions of fossil fuels), and an overhang of consumer and government debt, perhaps epitomized by the crisis of entitlement liabilities, $120 trillion in the United States alone.2 Such luminaries as the former Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers sum up the result as “secular stagnation”—a near-permanent retardation of growth.3 The Frenchman Thomas Piketty, demonstrating that not all his countrymen share Alexis de Tocqueville’s admiration of American exceptionalism, has extended the essential argument into a new Marxian “central law of capitalism.”

Surely, Krugman said, citing Milton Friedman, the unitary gold standard would wreak global havoc like that inflicted by the unitary euro standard.5 So why do we push to end the current monetary regime? The reason is not irrational nostalgia for a misremembered “golden age.” The reason is a decade and a half of economic failure so crippling and pervasive that it has led to a global revulsion against capitalism. Leading economists such as the former Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers and Robert Gordon of the National Bureau of Economic Research have concluded that the world’s economies are entering an era of “secular stagnation,” not merely a cyclical slowdown but a permanent decline of entrepreneurial innovation and technological advance.6 Peter Thiel, by all odds the world’s most visionary venture capitalist–philosopher, has declared that of four possibilities for the world economy—recurrent collapse, plateau, extinction, and technological takeoff—“the hardest one to imagine [is] accelerating takeoff toward a much better future.”7 Deepening the global economic doldrums is a forced transfer of wealth from Main Street to Wall Street so gigantic that it has sharply skewed global measures of the distribution of wealth and income, bringing to a halt fifty years of miraculous and broad-based advances in global living standards.

For its perpetuation and expansion, the wealth in banks is utterly dependent on long-term investments in perilous processes of learning—real investments in companies and projects that can fail at any time. The role of banks is to transform the savers’ quest for security and liquidity into the entrepreneurs’ necessarily long-term illiquidity and acceptance of risk. Without banks performing this role, economic growth flags and stagnation prevails, as Lawrence Summers and Robert Gordon observe.8 Explaining the sources of Britain’s dominance of world trade, the Victorian journalist Walter Bagehot pointed to the vastly larger agglomerations of capital in London banks: A million in the hands of a single banker is a great power; he can at once lend it where he will, and borrowers can come to him, because they know or believe that he has it. But the same sum scattered in tens and fifties through a whole nation is no power at all: no one knows where to find it or whom to ask for it.


pages: 429 words: 114,726

The Computer Boys Take Over: Computers, Programmers, and the Politics of Technical Expertise by Nathan L. Ensmenger

barriers to entry, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, deskilling, Donald Knuth, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Grace Hopper, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, loose coupling, new economy, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Shoshana Zuboff, sorting algorithm, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the market place, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Y2K

David, cited in Randall and Buxton, Software Engineering, 33. 50. Robert Gordon, “Personnel Selection,” in Data Processing, Practically Speaking, ed. Stanley Naftaly and Fred Gruenberger (Los Angeles: Data Processing Digest, 1967), 88. 51. Joseph O’Shields, “Selection of EDP Personnel,” Personnel Journal 44, no. 9 (1965): 472. 52. Perry and Cannon, “Vocational Interests of Computer Programmers.” 53. Richard Brandon, “The Problem in Perspective,” in Proceedings of the 1968 23rd ACM National Conference (New York: ACM Press, 1968), 332–334. 54. “Office Robots,” Fortune 45, January 1952, 114. 55. See, for example, Gerald Weinberger, The Psychology of Computer Programming (New York: Von Nostrand Rheinhold, 1971). 56. Bylinsky, “Help Wanted: 50,000 Programmers,” 141. 57. Lecht, The Management of Computer Programming Projects, 9. 58. Robert Gordon, “Review of Charles Lecht, The Management of Computer Programmers,” Datamation 14, no. 4 (1968): 200. 59.

They are still being held at bay by the computer people’s major weapon—the snow job.”100 Computer department staffs, although “they may be superbly equipped, technically speaking, to respond to management’s expectations,” are “seldom strategically placed (or managerially trained)—to fully assess the economics of operations or to judge operational feasibility.”101 Only the restorations of the proper balance between computer personnel and managers could save the software projects from a descent into “unprogrammed and devastating chaos.”102 The Road to Garmisch In the late 1960s, new perspectives on the problem of programmer management began to appear in the industry literature. “There is a vast amount of evidence to indicate that writing—a large part of programming is writing after all, albeit in a special language for a very restricted audience—can be planned, scheduled and controlled, nearly all of which has been flagrantly ignored by both programmers and their managers,” argued Robert Gordon in 1968 in a review of contemporary software development practices.103 Although it was admittedly true “that programming a computer is more an art than a science, that in some of its aspects it is a creative process,” this new perspective on software management suggested that “as a matter of fact, a modicum of intelligent effort can provide a very satisfactory degree of control.”104 It was the NATO Conference on Software Engineering in 1968 that irrevocably established software management as one of the central rhetorical cornerstones of all future debates about the nature and causes of the software crisis.

Allan Tucker, Programming Languages (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1977). 42. Ben Shneiderman, “The Relationship between COBOL and Computer Science,” Annals of the History of Computing 7, no. 4 (1985): 350. 43. Ibid., 351. 44. John Golda, “The Effects of Computer Technology on the Traditional Role of Management” (master’s thesis, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, 1965), 34, 85; Robert Gordon, “Personnel Selection,” in Data Processing, Practically Speaking (1967), 34, 85. 45. Alan Perlis, cited in Wexelblat, History of Programming Languages, 60. 46. Alan Perlis, cited in ibid., 82. 47. “Angels, Pins, and Language Standards,” Datamation 9, no. 4 (1963): 23–25. 48. Jack Little, cited in RAND Symposium, “On Programming Languages, Part II,” 29–30. 49. Bernard Galler, cited in ibid., 27. 50.


The Making of a World City: London 1991 to 2021 by Greg Clark

Basel III, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, carbon footprint, congestion charging, corporate governance, cross-subsidies, deindustrialization, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, East Village, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, financial intermediation, global value chain, haute cuisine, housing crisis, industrial cluster, intangible asset, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, Pearl River Delta, place-making, rent control, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, smart cities, sovereign wealth fund, trickle-down economics, urban planning, urban renewal, working poor

Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books. Cover image: City Hall, Southwark, London, UK. Courtesy of mbbirdy / iStock Photo Cover design: Sophie Ford, www.hisandhersdesign.co.uk Set in 9.5/12pt TrumpMediaeval by Aptara Inc., New Delhi, India 1 2015 Contents About the Author Foreword by Martin Simmons Preface by Rosemary Feenan and Robert Gordon Clark Acknowledgements ix xi xiii xv Section I London in 1991 – Setting the scene 1 Introduction: Honor Chapman and London: World City 2 London prior to 1991: The back story 3 11 Planning for a new world city 12 The rise of finance and a new rationale for post-industrial London 13 A hiatus of government 16 The LDDC and a new era of pragmatism 16 3 The 1991 London: World City report and its message about London 19 Old rivals, new rivals 22 An agenda for metropolitan governance 24 Brand new: The promotion of London 26 The future knowledge economy 29 Section II The evolution of London, 1991 to 2015 4 The internationalisation of London’s economy 35 Internationalisation of London’s labour force 39 The global financial crisis and after 43 5 Leadership, governance and policy 47 1997 and a new direction for metropolitan government 52 The London Plan: A global city strategy 56 London boroughs 59 Promoting London 60 London’s governance today 66 vi Contents 6 Re-investment and urban regeneration 69 Cultural revitalisation of the South Bank: Lambeth, Southwark and Greenwich 72 New regeneration powers from 2000 74 Regeneration in perspective 77 From de-industrial to post-industrial: Building a new experience for markets, leisure and commerce 80 7 Corporate hub, office market and real estate 87 The rise and rise of tall buildings 88 The diffusion of London’s office geography 89 The transformative impact of foreign capital 93 8 Homes and housing in London 99 Consensus but complacency in the 1990s 100 The London Plan and a new agenda for housing 101 London’s housing predicament: Prospects and solutions 107 9 London’s evolving infrastructure platform 111 The impact of TfL and citywide government on transport 113 From incrementalism to integration?

The irony is that it was her untimely passing that was the inspiration for the original Honor Chapman report and then for this important and timely book. She would have read this with satisfaction to see many of her recommendations even now retaining their sense and impact, with frustration at the lack of progress in some areas, and with gratitude that Greg Clark has reset the benchmark on helping the world’s leaders understand what it takes to be a successful city. Rosemary Feenan Jones Lang LaSalle Robert Gordon Clark London Communications Agency Acknowledgements In 2012, London announced itself as the capital of the 21st century world of cities. The phenomenal success of its Olympic Games marked a high watermark after two decades of evolution and transformation during which London had become one of the most open and cosmopolitan cities in the world, whilst increasing its formal influence and soft power in the global systems of capital, culture, knowledge, and communications.

I am very grateful to The City of London, London First, London School of Economics, Centre for London, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Cities Policy Unit at the Cabinet Office, Department for Communities and Local Government, Greater London Authority, London & Partners, the Urban Land Institute and Centre for Cities, and to the following individuals who contributed their thoughts and comments: Lord Andrew Adonis, Stephen Aldridge, Peter Bill, Richard Blakeway, Gerry Blundell, Mark Boleat, Robin Broadhurst CBE, Professor Ricky Burdett, Andrew Campling, Andrew Carter, Michael Cassidy CBE, Professor Paul Cheshire, Simon Clark, Paul Clark, Andrew Cooke, Toby Courtauld, Philip Cox, Sunny Crouch, Howard Dawber, Richard Dickenson, John Dickie, Sarah Elliott, Professor Michael Enright, Miatta Fahnbulleh, Professor Susan Fainstein, Sir Terry Farrell, Rosemary Feenan, Dr Vincent Fouchier, Dr Vincent Gollain, Professor Ian Gordon, Robert Gordon Clark, Dr Andrew Gould, Sir Malcolm Grant, Rob Harris, Ian Hawksworth, Edwin Heathcote, Dr Helen Hill, Dr Peter Hobbs, Will Hutton, Gordon Innes, Sir Simon xvi Acknowledgements Jenkins, Christopher Jonas CBE, Alexandra Jones, Bruce Katz, Professor Mark Kleinman, Dr Takayuki Kubo, Wally Kumar, Sir Stuart Lipton, Sir Edward Lister, David Lunts, Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas, Harvey McGrath, Paul McNamara, Liz Meek CBE, Joe Montgomery, Martin Moore, Dr Mike More, Jeremy Newsum, Sir Stephen O’Brien CBE, Sir Michael Pickard, Merrill Pond, Nigel Roberts, Ben Rogers, Lord Rogers of Riverside, Sir Peter Rogers, Bridget Rosewell OBE, Judith Salomon, Francis Salway, Professor Rosemary Scanlon, Jos Short, David Simmonds, Martin Simmons, Jeremy Skinner, Eric Sorensen, Colin Stanbridge, Dr Lui Thai Ker, Professor Tony Travers, Peter Vernon, Michael Ward, Professor Carl Weisbrod, Robert Whitehead, Adrian Wyatt OBE, Peter Wynne Rees and Professor Bob Yaro.


pages: 626 words: 167,836

The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation by Carl Benedikt Frey

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, business cycle, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, Corn Laws, creative destruction, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, deskilling, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, factory automation, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, future of work, game design, Gini coefficient, Hyperloop, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, oil shock, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Renaissance Technologies, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, speech recognition, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, trade route, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Turing test, union organizing, universal basic income, washing machines reduced drudgery, wealth creators, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

As Harry Jerome wrote, “If letters were all written by hand, and computations all made by laborious and expensive human effort, there would be a marked shrinkage in the volume of correspondence and computation considered necessary and economical.”27 In other words, machines were responsible for relieving workers of the most dangerous and physically demanding tasks as well as for creating new and more pleasant ones in electrified factories and air-conditioned offices. Economist Robert Gordon has calculated that the share of the workforce engaged in jobs that can be deemed physically challenging and dangerous fell from 63.1 in 1870 to 9.0 percent in 1970.28 Of course, such estimates inevitably understate the demise of unpleasant work because the content of many unpleasant jobs changed for the better as well. As Gordon notes, “One only need contrast the 1870 farmer pushing a plow behind a horse or mule, exposed to heat, rain, and insects, with the 2009 farmer riding in the air conditioned cab of his giant John Deere tractor that finds its way across the field by GPS and uses a computer to optimally drop and space the seeds as the farmer reads farm reports and learns about crop prices on a fixed screen or portable tablet.”29 More Jobs, Better Pay Technology not only made jobs less hazardous and physically demanding, it also led to better-paying jobs.

As Robert Putnam’s colorful descriptions of life in Port Clinton in the 1950s illustrate, “The children of manual workers and of professionals came from similar homes and mixed unselfconsciously in schools and neighborhoods, in scout troops and church groups.… Everyone knew everyone else’s first name.”18 Port Clinton was not an exception in this regard. At that time, manual workmen and their families could live on the same street as a white-collar family. Such middle-class living provided the foundation for middle-class politics. Robert Gordon explains: This rough economic equality was a political fact of the first importance. It meant that, in a break with the drift of things in pre-war America, postwar America had no working class and no working-class politics. It instead had a middle-class politics for an expanding middle class bigger in aspiration and self-identification than it was in fact—more people wanted to be seen as middle-class than had yet arrived at that state of felicity.

Worries that autonomous trucks will cause a “tsunami of displacement” are widespread, though this is unlikely to happen in the next few years.32 In light of these concerns, it is also important to remember that the barriers to technology adoption are not just technological. As we have seen in the preceding chapters, replacing technologies are likely to be resisted if workers face poor alternative options—an issue to which we shall return. * * * All human performers of transportation and delivery tasks are not at immediate risk from the rise of autonomous vehicles, of course. As AI skeptics like Robert Gordon have pointed out, even if “the car drives up in front of my house, how does the package get from the Amazon car to my front porch? Who carries it up when I’m away from home?”33 At the same time, we have been able to overcome seemingly more complicated engineering problems in the past through clever task redesign. As Hans Moravec has noted, it is hard for computers to do many tasks that are easy for humans, and vice versa.


pages: 72 words: 21,361

Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy by Erik Brynjolfsson

"Robert Solow", Amazon Mechanical Turk, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, business cycle, business process, call centre, combinatorial explosion, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, hiring and firing, income inequality, intangible asset, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, minimum wage unemployment, patent troll, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Ray Kurzweil, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, shareholder value, Skype, too big to fail, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

Davis, Jason Faberman, and John Haltiwanger found that recruiting intensity per job opening has plummeted during the past decade as well. Employers just don’t seem to have the same demand for labor that they once did. This reflects a pattern that was noticeable in the “jobless recovery” of the early 1990s, but that has worsened after each of the two recessions since then. Economists Menzie Chinn and Robert Gordon, in separate analyses, find that the venerable relationship between output and employment known as Okun’s Law has been amended. Historically, increased output meant increased employment, but the recent recovery created much less employment than predicted; GDP rebounded but jobs didn't. The historically strong relationship between changes in GDP and changes in employment appears to have weakened as digital technology has become more pervasive and powerful.

In addition, Mona Masghati and Maya Bustan helped Andy a great deal with his research, and Heekyung Kim and Jonathan Sidi did the same for Erik. We are grateful for conversations on technology and employment with our MIT colleagues, including Daron Acemoglu, David Autor, Frank Levy, Tod Loofbourrow, Thomas Malone, Stuart Madnick, Wanda Orlikowski, Michael Schrage, Peter Weill, and Irving Wladawsky-Berger. In addition, Rob Atkinson, Yannis Bakos, Susanto Basu, Menzie Chinn, Robert Gordon, Lorin Hitt, Rob Huckman, Michael Mandel, Dan Snow, Zeynep Ton and Marshall van Alstyne were very generous with their insights. We also benefited greatly from talking with people in industry who are making and using incredible technologies, including Rod Brooks, Paul Hofmann Ray Kurzweil, Ike Nassi, and Hal Varian. We presented some of the ideas contained here to seminar audiences at MIT, Harvard Business School, Northwestern, NYU, UC/Irvine, USC’s Annenberg School, SAP, McKinsey, and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.


pages: 393 words: 91,257

The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class by Joel Kotkin

Admiral Zheng, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, creative destruction, deindustrialization, demographic transition, don't be evil, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, European colonialism, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Google bus, guest worker program, Hans Rosling, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, liberal capitalism, life extension, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, megacity, Nate Silver, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Parag Khanna, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, post-work, postindustrial economy, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Sam Altman, Satyajit Das, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y Combinator

At the same time, India’s political leadership is adopting illiberal views and policies, including ethnic nationalism, suppression of free speech, and Hindu dogmatism expressed in public policy.13 Back to Stagnation As China’s power has waxed, the economies in most advanced countries have stagnated. After a period of rapid expansion, economic growth in the large advanced countries, with the occasional exception of the United States, has slowed to a rate no more than half that of a generation ago.14 Gains in productivity in the last decade were barely half those in the previous decade and barely one-fourth the average increases between 1920 and 1970. The economist Robert Gordon notes that the newest wave of technology, while dramatically changing how we communicate and get information, has done very little to improve the material conditions of life, particularly in housing and transportation.15 The slowdown of population growth, especially in high-income countries, is another aspect of societal stagnation. In Europe, low birth rates have been common for almost a half century now.

Katz, “The Shaping of Higher Education: The Formative Years in the United States, 1890 to 1940,” National Bureau of Economic Research, April 1998, https://www.nber.org/papers/w6537.pdf. 7 Daniel Bell, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society (New York: Basic Books, 1973), 217–22; Erin Duffin, “U.S. college enrollment statistics for public and private colleges from 1965 to 2016 and projections up to 2028,” Statista, August 9, 2019, https://www.statista.com/statistics/183995/us-college-enrollment-and-projections-in-public-and-private-institutions/. 8 Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016), 513, 521. 9 Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina, “Tertiary Education,” Our World in Data, 2019, https://ourworldindata.org/tertiary-education; Angel Calderon, “The higher education landscape is changing fast,” University World News, June 22, 2018, http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story =2018062208555853. 10 Allen Guelzo, “College Is Trade School for the Elite,” Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/college-is-trade-school-for-the-elite-1502051874. 11 Charles Murray, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010 (New York: Crown Forum, 2012), 54–56; Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, trans.

Kight, “Young Americans are embracing socialism,” Axios, March 10, 2019, https://www.axios.com/exclusive-poll-young-americans-embracing-socialism-b051907a-87a8-4f61-9e6e-0db75f7edc4a.html. 11 Stokes, “Public divided on prospects for the next generation.” 12 “India fares worst among developing countries in World Bank study on upward mobility,” Business Today, June 5, 2018, https://www.businesstoday.in/current/world/india-developing-countries-world-bank-upward-mobility-study/story/278455.html. 13 Bruce Stokes and Kat Devlin, “Despite Rising Economic Confidence, Japanese See Best Days Behind Them and Say Children Face a Bleak Future,” Pew Research Center, November 12, 2018, http://www.pewglobal.org/2018/11/12/despite-rising-economic-confidence-japanese-see-best-days-behind-them-and-say-children-face-a-bleak-future/. 14 Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016), 106. 15 Janet Adamy and Paul Overberg, “‘Playing Catch-Up in the Game of Life.’ Millennials Approach Middle Age in Crisis,” Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/playing-catch-up-in-the-game-of-life-millennials-approach-middle-age-in-crisis-11558290908. 16 John Daley and Brendan Coates, “Housing Affordability: Re-imagining the Australian Dream,” Grattan Institute, March 2018, https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/901-Housing-affordability.pdf; Leith Van Onselen, “The sad death of Australian home ownership.”


pages: 222 words: 70,132

Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Legislative Exchange Council, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, David Brooks, David Graeber, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of journalism, future of work, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Google bus, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, life extension, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, revision control, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Snapchat, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transfer pricing, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

Statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) tell another tale: economic growth is dramatically slowing while inequality in developed countries is increasing. Unlike the years of more than 6 percent growth spurred by twentieth-century innovation cycles (electricity, communication, transportation), the digital revolution is delivering less than 2 percent growth and increasing inequality in the developed world. As economist Paul Krugman notes, reviewing Robert Gordon’s The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War, “Gordon suggests that the future is all too likely to be marked by stagnant living standards for most Americans, because the effects of slowing technological progress will be reinforced by a set of ‘headwinds’: rising inequality, a plateau in education levels, an aging population and more.” If in fact profits are accruing to increasingly dominant tech-industry monopolies, a process that is eliminating middle-class jobs (think robots and self-driving truck fleets), we can see that the techno-determinist path will ultimately lead to deep social unrest. 2.

With $80 billion, Google could buy Uber and its Indian rival Ola and still have enough left over to buy Palantir, a data-mining start-up. One possibility for this anomaly is that the entrepreneurs heading these firms have most of their wealth in the stock of their companies and they would rather use the cash to support the stock (through buybacks) than make long-term investments, which might take years to show results. The second question we need to ask is posed by the economist Robert Gordon in his book The Rise and Fall of American Growth. Gordon argues that the hype around the technology revolution is overdone and that digital services are less important to productivity than any one of the five great inventions that drove economic growth before 1970: electricity, urban sanitation, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, the internal combustion engine, and telecommunications. Yes, it’s nice to have a phone and a computer in your pocket, but has it really changed the world the way the inventions of Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford did?

Chapter Ten: Libertarians and the 1 Percent Jane Mayer, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (New York: Doubleday, 2016). This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what happened to our democracy. Robert McChesney, Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy (New York: New Press, 2015). This is a really good primer from a media activist and scholar who has been fighting media monopoly for twenty-five years. Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016). This is the great antidote to digital utopians. Gordon’s well-researched text shows that the Internet has not been the productivity bounty that was promised. Sara C. Kingsley, Mary L. Gray, and Siddharth Suri, “Monopsony and the Crowd: Labor for Lemons?” Oxford Internet Institute, August 2014, ipp.oii.ox.ac.uk/2014/programme-2014/track-a/labour/sara-kingsley-mary-gray-monopsony-and.


pages: 416 words: 108,370

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, always be closing, augmented reality, Clayton Christensen, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, full employment, game design, Gordon Gekko, hindsight bias, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, information trail, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, John Snow's cholera map, Kodak vs Instagram, linear programming, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, subscription business, telemarketer, the medium is the message, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vilfredo Pareto, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, women in the workforce

They mounted a stage production in their minds, but just for them, something palatial and private, like a daydream. 12 THE FUTURES OF HITS: EMPIRE AND CITY-STATE Familiar Surprises, Networks, and Magic Sprinkle Dust We are living through an industrial revolution in attention. In the century between the 1870s and 1970s, the United States underwent an industrial revolution in food (the invention of the refrigerator), light (the mainstreaming of electricity), travel (the triumph of the automobile and the airplane), and even in the anatomy of homes, with the modernization of gas, sewers, and running water. As the economic historian Robert Gordon has argued cleverly, a time traveler visiting a 1970s house would feel quite at home in its kitchen, bathroom, living room, or bedroom. But if this decade-hopper wanted to watch cable on a giant flat-screen television, or stream music from a million-song library, or look up something on the Internet, he would feel lost. In the 1970s, there were no phones capturing their owners’ gaze like Narcissus at the water, no headphone cords snaking up from every person’s pocket, no libraries of information stored in tiny plates of glass.

Thank you to my agents—Gail Ross, in loco parentis, and Howard Yoon, proposal doctor. Thank you to the wonderful team at Penguin Press: Virginia, Scott, Annie, Ann, and the whole publicity and marketing squad. Thanks to those whose work inspired this book, directly and implicitly: Raymond Loewy, Stanley Lieberson, Michael Kaminiski, Chris Taylor, Bill Bryson, Malcolm Gladwell, Jonah Berger, Steven Johnson, Tom Vanderbilt, Robert Gordon, David Suisman, Paul Barber, Elizabeth Margulis, John Seabrook, Charles Duhigg, Daniel Kahneman, Steven Pinker, Oliver Sacks, Michael Wolff, Nate Silver, Dan Ariely, Jonathan Franzen, Conor Sen, Felix Salmon, Matthew Yglesias, Ezra Klein, Chris Martin, Marc Andreessen, and Umberto Eco. Thanks to those whose conversations inspired this book, directly and implicitly: Drew Durbin, Lincoln Quirk, Michael Diamond, Jordan Weissmann, Robbie dePicciotto, Laura Martin, Maria Konnikova, Mark Harris, Spencer Kornhaber, Rececca Rosen, Alexis Madrigal, Bob Cohn, John Gould, Don Peck, James Bennet, Kevin Roose, Gabriel Rossman, Jesse Prinz, Duncan Watts, Anne Messitte, Andrew Golis, Aditya Sood, Nicholas Jackson, Seth Godin, the Diamonds, the Durbins, and Kira Thompson.

,” Quora, January 25, 2013, www.quora.com/How-did-Instagram-build-up-its-community-in-its-early-days. twenty-five thousand people downloaded the app: Kara Swisher, “The Money Shot,” Vanity Fair, June 2013. movie industry was the third-largest retail business: Edward Jay Epstein, The Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood (New York: Random House, 2005), 6. more than five hours watching: Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016). fell from about twenty-five in 1950 to four in 2015: Barak Y. Orbach and Liran Einav, “Uniform Prices for Differentiated Goods: The Case of the Movie-Theater Industry,” International Review of Law and Economics 27 (2007): 129–53. more profit from cable channels: Derek Thompson, “The Global Dominance of ESPN,” The Atlantic, September 2013.


pages: 592 words: 152,445

The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies by Jason Fagone

Albert Einstein, Charles Lindbergh, Columbine, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Fellow of the Royal Society, index card, Internet Archive, pattern recognition, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, X Prize

Elizebeth’s first two successful hires were Hyman Hurwitz, a twenty-one-year-old electrical engineer from Dorchester, Massachusetts, who liked to tinker with radios, and thirty-one-year-old Vernon Cooley, from Kalamazoo, Michigan, who had taught schoolchildren there and also worked for a time in the factory of the Kalamazoo Paper Company. Both were given the title of Assistant Cryptographic Clerk. A third young codebreaker-in-training soon joined them, Robert Gordon, who was twenty-three and hailed from Waco, Texas. The three men, “able, agreeable, and cooperative,” treated Elizebeth with respect, and soon they all settled into a productive routine, learning each other’s quirks and strengths, dividing up tasks as a team. Asking if Elizebeth experienced sexism was like asking if Marie Curie did. Cryptology was a young field. It hadn’t yet sorted itself into rigid roles by gender.

He was a man on the verge of mental breakdown, writing a letter to his wife, who was also close to collapse, at a moment when the world was rearranging itself, and they would both have to give more of themselves than they had ever given before. “The ocean,” he said, “is as calm as a bowl of warm milk sitting on a table.” PART III THE INVISIBLE WAR 1939–1945 CHAPTER 1 Grandmother Died Elizebeth Friedman, U.S. Coast Guard Cryptanalyst-in-Charge, and a junior cryptanalyst, Robert Gordon, puzzling out a problem together, 1940. (George C. Marshall Research Foundation) Lights out ’cause I can see in the dark . . . —FUGAZI The Second World War did not begin with a gunshot or a bomb. It began with a feat of deception involving elements long familiar to Elizebeth Friedman—a code phrase, a radio station, and a murder. The men responsible were Nazis, and they belonged to the same part of the Nazi state that would soon attract Elizebeth’s deep attention.

This had been true at Riverbank two decades earlier, when “the world began to pop and things began to happen,” as she put it once; it was true in the 1920s and ’30s when she shone a floodlight on the American criminal underworld; and it was proving true again now, in early 1940, when she and her team identified a new and sinister set of voices in the intercepts furnished by the listening stations. The basic rhythm of her typical weekdays had not changed since the early ’30s. She was still working in her coast guard office at the Treasury Annex building near the White House, serving as chief of the Cryptanalytic Unit that she had founded in 1931 and nurtured ever since. Her three junior codebreakers, Robert Gordon, Vernon Cooley, and Hyman Hurwitz, the ones she had originally recruited and trained, were still with her, and a handful of women clerk-typists had also joined the team as support staff. Elizebeth, Gordon, Cooley, and Hurwitz often worked together at a long table in the office, analyzing the ever-replenishing piles of cryptograms that arrived from the coast guard listening stations, chewing the ends of their pencils, maps of the world pinned to the wall behind them, the clack of the clerks’ typewriters filling the room.


pages: 504 words: 126,835

The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard by Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, American ideology, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, BRICs, Burning Man, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Martin Wolf, mass affluent, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, University of East Anglia, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

In Europe, economists at the London School of Economics and the OECD have been valuable sources for our work, not the least on trade, wages, inequality, and productivity. There is plenty of interesting research on digital innovation and how it is reshaping some markets and economies. Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee and their colleagues at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the MIT Center for Digital Business deserve a particular mention. Likewise, Robert Gordon’s stellar work on productivity and American prosperity – in some ways the antithesis to Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s work – has given us an extraordinary number of insights. Throughout the work on this book we have been reminded of the significance of many classical or political economists in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There are few roads to understanding business and the economy that do not stop by Karl Marx, Joseph Schumpeter, and Friedrich Hayek.

Figure 2.2 Total factor productivity growth in selected EU countries and the US The trend is no more exciting if we look just at the productivity of labor. For advanced economies, labor productivity has been more volatile than TFP growth, surging in the US during the boom in information and communications technology (ICT) in the second half of the 1990s. But that spurt, which promised a lasting digital shock to the US economy, proved to be just that – a spurt. Economist Robert Gordon has a sobering view for those who think past and future rates of US labor productivity growth are impressive. He has recently become known for swearing in the church of the New Machine Age by suggesting that the role of innovation for US growth is underwhelming and that it will not get much better. In a fascinating account of living standards in the United States, Gordon has computed labor productivity for different periods and shown that while it soared in the US between 1996 and 2004, the periods between 1972 and 1996, and from 2004 until now, show a productivity trend significantly below the trends after World War II or after the industrial revolution.12 After the post-World War II catch-up with the United States ended, Europe’s productivity growth has been consistently below that of the US.

In their otherwise important book The Second Machine Age, they claim that “part of the recent slowdown simply reflects the Great Recession and its aftermath.”35 They argue that US productivity growth “in the decade following the year 2000 exceeded even the high growth rates of the roaring 1990s, which in turn was higher than 1970s or 1980s growth rates had been.”36 These propositions do not stand up to scrutiny. Since 1970 there has been one productivity spurt, but otherwise there has been a downward trend. Robert Gordon dates the productivity spurt to the period between 1996 and 2004, and other experts on US productivity agree. It thus ended before the credit boom and bust that took place between 2005 and 2010.37 Consequently, the US economy was showing a declining trend in productivity growth before the Great Recession, and the pattern after 2010 was no different from that before the crisis. Noted productivity expert John Fernald concludes, “by the mid-2000s, the low hanging fruit of IT-based innovation had been plucked.”38 It follows that the data simply do not show the suggested pattern of productivity growth: a continuous, decade-by-decade rise since the 1970s.


To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland's Global Diaspora, 1750-2010 by T M Devine

agricultural Revolution, British Empire, deindustrialization, deskilling, full employment, ghettoisation, housing crisis, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, land tenure, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, railway mania, Red Clydeside, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Scramble for Africa, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, women in the workforce

The success of these ethnic communities was demonstrated by the rise of the twelve ‘Scottish Brotherhoods’, each organized by an elected committee of ‘Elders’ drawn from all the Scottish ‘colonies’. It was also confirmed by the ascent of a few Scots to positions of real power in Poland. Perhaps the most famous was Alexander Chalmer (Czamer), born in Dyce near Aberdeen, who made his pile in textiles and then served four terms as Mayor of Warsaw. Some, like Robert Gordon, a wealthy Danzig merchant who endowed Robert Gordon’s College at Aberdeen, invested some of their riches back home. Yet others entered the ranks of the Polish nobility. But these were not the typical Scots. The majority were packmen, plying their trade on horseback, selling cheap household wares into the remotest parts of the country.68 This commercial experience in Europe provides one explanation for Scottish economic success in the eighteenth-century empire.

The proprietors envisaged a colony of landed estates, and among those who eventually emigrated to the New World were a very high proportion of younger sons of the north-east gentry. Thus, three members of the Gordons of Straloch purchased proprietary shares, but only the two younger bothers actually travelled to the colony. Several other emigrants can be identified as sons of minor, cadet branches of landed families. Robert Gordon of Cluny probably spoke for many of his fellow proprietors when he stated that his own reason for being attracted to the project of colonization was to provide land for his younger son, ‘since I had not estate whereby to make him a Scotch laird’.9 But perhaps even more acute pressures were building up by the early eighteenth century. Scottish landed families were simply having more surviving adult children as infant mortality levels started to fall rapidly.

Many were in the employ of the two dominant Scots trading houses in Liverpool – Samuel McDougal of Wigton (later a pre-eminent opponent of abolition) and the Tod brothers from Moffat.16 Scots were equally prominent in Bristol. One of the most powerful merchant dynasties in the north of Scotland, the Baillies of Dochfour, near Inverness, was partially founded on slave trafficking from Bristol.17 Robert Gordon from Moray was among the owners who managed ten or more slave-trading vessels in the city and between 1745 and 1769 profited from eighteen different voyages to East Africa.18 It was in London, however, that the Scots really made their mark. Around one in ten of the African traders in the capital were Scots in the early 1750s, a number which increased in later decades.19 They were similarly heavily involved in the governance of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa as elected members of the Company’s committee of management.


pages: 339 words: 88,732

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, digital map, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, G4S, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, intangible asset, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, mass immigration, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, post-work, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

In fact, in a list of all the candidates for this classification compiled by the economist Alexander Field, only steam power got more votes than ICT, which was tied with electricity as the second most commonly accepted GPT.9 If we are all in agreement, then why the debate over whether ICTs are ushering in a new golden age of innovation and growth? Because, the argument goes, their economic benefits have already been captured and now most new ‘innovation’ involves entertaining ourselves inexpensively online. According to Robert Gordon: The first industrial robot was introduced by General Motors in 1961. Telephone operators went away in the 1960s. . . . Airline reservations systems came in the 1970s, and by 1980 bar-code scanners and cash machines were spreading through the retail and banking industries. . . . The first personal computers arrived in the early 1980s with their word processing, word wrap, and spreadsheets. . . .

There have even been substantial increases in the number of stock keeping units (SKUs) in most physical stores as computerized inventory management systems, supply chains, and manufacturing have become more efficient and flexible. For the overall economy, the official GDP numbers miss the value of new goods and services added to the tune of about 0.4 percent of additional growth each year, according to economist Robert Gordon.* Remember that productivity growth has been in the neighborhood of 2 percent per year for most of the past century, so contribution of new goods is not a trivial portion. Reputations and Recommendations Digitization also brings a related but subtler benefit to the vast array of goods and services that already exist in the economy. Lower search and transaction costs mean faster and easier access and increased efficiency and convenience.

The general story is about our research to understand the nature of progress with digital technologies, and its economic and societal consequences. As part of this work, we talked to two main types of geek (a label which, to us, is the highest praise): those who study economics and other social sciences, and those who build technologies. In the former group Susan Athey, David Autor, Zoe Baird, Nick Bloom, Tyler Cowen, Charles Fadel, Chrystia Freeland, Robert Gordon, Tom Kalil, Larry Katz, Tom Kochan, Frank Levy, James Manyika, Richard Murnane, Robert Putnam, Paul Romer, Scott Stern, Larry Summers, and Hal Varian have helped our thinking enormously. In the latter category are Chris Anderson, Rod Brooks, Peter Diamandis, Ephraim Heller, Reid Hoffman, Jeremy Howard, Kevin Kelly, Ray Kurzweil, John Leonard, Tod Loofbourrow, Hilary Mason, Tim O’Reilly, Sandy Pentland, Brad Templeton, and Vivek Wadhwa.


pages: 327 words: 90,542

The Age of Stagnation: Why Perpetual Growth Is Unattainable and the Global Economy Is in Peril by Satyajit Das

"Robert Solow", 9 dash line, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative economy, colonial exploitation, computer age, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, Emanuel Derman, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, margin call, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, open economy, passive income, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, the payments system, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Between 1900 and 1992, global GDP grew from US$1.98 trillion to around US$28 trillion, a growth rate of just under 3 percent per annum. Between 1992 and 2014, it doubled again to US$60 trillion, a growth rate of around 3.5 percent per annum. The average human being today has about nine times and four times the income per head of their predecessors in 1500 and 1900 respectively.5 Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon confirmed McNeill's results. Using British data, he found minimal growth in real output per capita, 0.2 percent per annum, between 1300 and 1700. By 1906 British growth reached around 1 percent per annum. According to later US data, growth reached around 2.5 percent per annum by 1950, then declined. Professor Gordon found that living standards took five centuries, between 1300 and 1800, to double.

Changing demographics and slower productivity improvements threaten growth. In 2015, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that, without labor productivity increases to offset the effects of aging populations and declining birthrates, it is conceivable that there will be a 40 percent drop in GDP growth rates and a 20 percent drop in the growth rate of per capita income globally.8 Innovation too may be flagging. Economist Robert Gordon identified three phases of innovation.9 Industrial revolution 1 (1750–1830) focused on coal, steam engines, railroads, and textiles. Industrial revolution 2 (1870–1900) saw five key innovations: electricity; the internal combustion engine; running water, indoor plumbing, and central heating; rearranging molecules central to petroleum, chemicals, plastics, and pharmaceuticals; and communication and entertainment devices such as the telephone, the phonograph, popular photography, radio, and motion pictures.

In 1955, showing off a new, automatically operated plant, a Ford company executive asked United Automobile Workers head Walter Reuther, “How are you going to collect union dues from [the robots]?” Reuther countered, “And how are you going to get them to buy Fords?”17 Economic expansion is not a continuous process that can persist forever. Growth and improvements in living standards will slow significantly. For “shock value,” economist Robert Gordon speculates that future US growth rates, adjusted for his six headwinds (demographics, declining educational attainments, rising inequality, the effects of globalization, environmental costs, and the debt overhang) may be 0.2 percent, well below even the modest 1.8 percent of 1987–2007. Low or no growth is not necessarily a problem. In nature, growth is only a temporary phase, which ceases at maturity.


pages: 295 words: 90,821

Fully Grown: Why a Stagnant Economy Is a Sign of Success by Dietrich Vollrath

"Robert Solow", active measures, additive manufacturing, American Legislative Exchange Council, barriers to entry, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, creative destruction, Deng Xiaoping, endogenous growth, falling living standards, hiring and firing, income inequality, intangible asset, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, light touch regulation, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, old age dependency ratio, patent troll, Peter Thiel, profit maximization, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, total factor productivity, women in the workforce, working-age population

While Chad Jones was the one indirectly implicated in bringing this book about, it has relied on a series of intellectual connections and friendships. This goes back to graduate school, where my advisers Oded Galor, Peter Howitt, and David Weil impressed on me the value of taking a long-run view. That was reinforced over time by interactions—electronic or in person—with Areendam Chanda, German Cubas, David Cuberes, Carl-Johan Dalgaard, Ryan Decker, Markus Eberhardt, Lennart Erickson, Jim Feyrer, Doug Gollin, Robert Gordon, Mike Hsu, Greg Ip, Remi Jedwab, Mike Jerzmanowski, Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Jenny Minier, Chris Papageorgiou, David Papell, Noah Smith, Bent Sorensen, Liliana Varela, and Kei-mu Yi. Alex Tabarrok, Garett Jones, and Brad DeLong all deserve a special mention, as they were willing to read an original draft of this book and offered a series of thoughtful comments and criticisms. They’ll all find changes they suggested scattered throughout.

But while economic growth was positive in every year since 2010, it struggled to crack 2% on an annual basis, meaning that the economy remained well below the trend established before the financial crisis. It’s like we decided to stick to fifty-five miles per hour after getting free of the roadwork. This growth slowdown has not escaped the attention of, well, anyone with even a passing interest in economics. Robert Gordon’s recent history of economic growth in the United States is entitled The Rise and Fall of American Growth, not The Rise and Continued Pretty Good Rate of American Growth. You can find multiple stories on slow economic growth in past issues of the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, the Atlantic, the New York Times, and the Financial Times, just to name a few. During the 2016 Republican presidential primary, Jeb Bush made a campaign promise of achieving 4% growth in gross domestic product (GDP), something we haven’t seen in twenty years.

Like the increase in market power, they tend to be important for how the economic pie is divided up but have no effect on how big the pie is. One common worry is that the growth slowdown reflects a failure of ingenuity or innovation. We hear this in complaints that the things we do invent are frivolous or trivial, as in PayPal founder and venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s famous quotation “We wanted flying cars, and all we got was 140 characters,” or in some of Robert Gordon’s analysis in his recent book. At the same time, techno-optimists say we are in the middle of an unprecedented explosion in technological creativity, often associated with the massive increase in computing power available to firms and researchers, and the possibilities of artificial intelligence and robotics. Neither side in this argument has much support from the evidence on economic growth.


pages: 209 words: 53,175

The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness by Morgan Housel

"side hustle", airport security, Amazon Web Services, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, computer age, coronavirus, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, financial independence, Hans Rosling, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, new economy, Paul Graham, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, stocks for the long run, the scientific method, traffic fines, Vanguard fund, working-age population

Despite sitting quietly most of the day in what might have looked like free time or leisure hours to most people, he was constantly working in his mind, thinking problems through. This was unique in his day. Almost all jobs during Rockefeller’s time required doing things with your hands. In 1870, 46% of jobs were in agriculture, and 35% were in crafts or manufacturing, according to economist Robert Gordon. Few professions relied on a worker’s brain. You didn’t think; you labored, without interruption, and your work was visible and tangible. Today, that’s flipped. Thirty-eight percent of jobs are now designated as “managers, officials, and professionals.” These are decision-making jobs. Another 41% are service jobs that often rely on your thoughts as much as your actions. More of us have jobs that look closer to Rockefeller than a typical 1950s manufacturing worker, which means our days don’t end when we clock out and leave the factory.

Savings in the bank that earn 0% interest might actually generate an extraordinary return if they give you the flexibility to take a job with a lower salary but more purpose, or wait for investment opportunities that come when those without flexibility turn desperate. And that hidden return is becoming more important. The world used to be hyper-local. Just over 100 years ago 75% of Americans had neither telephones nor regular mail service, according to historian Robert Gordon. That made competition hyper-local. A worker with just average intelligence might be the best in their town, and they got treated like the best because they didn’t have to compete with the smarter worker in another town. That’s now changed. A hyper-connected world means the talent pool you compete in has gone from hundreds or thousands spanning your town to millions or billions spanning the globe.


pages: 585 words: 151,239

Capitalism in America: A History by Adrian Wooldridge, Alan Greenspan

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Airbnb, airline deregulation, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, global supply chain, hiring and firing, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Mason jar, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, savings glut, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transcontinental railway, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, white flight, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War, young professional

Without America’s unwavering commitment to the Cold War, Joseph Stalin’s progeny might still be in power in Eastern Europe and perhaps much of Asia. Uncle Sam provided the arsenal of democracy that saved the twentieth century from ruin. This is a remarkable story. But it is also a story with a sting in the tail: today, productivity growth has all but stalled. Tyler Cowen has talked about a “great stagnation.” Lawrence Summers has revived Alvin Hansen’s phrase, “secular stagnation.” Robert Gordon’s study of the American economy since the Civil War is called The Rise and Fall of American Growth. America is being defeated by China and other rising powers in one industry after another. The number of new companies being created has reached a modern low. The labor market is becoming stickier. Regulations are multiplying. America has bounced back from previous disappointments. In the 1930s, the country suffered from one of the longest and deepest depressions in history.

Howard Mason Gore, the secretary of agriculture, introduced more order into the emerging national system when he approved a uniform system of numbering and marking highways in 1925: east-west roads were assigned even numbers, north-south roads odd numbers, and transcontinental highways were designed in multiples of ten. Road builders developed asphalt and concrete for road surfaces. The first road atlas to report on the condition of specific routes was introduced in 1926.11 Robert Gordon estimates that the development of a nationwide network of paved roads increased the speed of automobile travel by a factor of at least five between 1905 and 1920.12 America also began to add the air to its transportation routes. The commercial aircraft industry was slow to get off the ground because flying was so dangerous. In the 1900s, airplanes were associated with daredevils. In the 1910s, they were associated with the military (the Wright brothers sold their first aircraft to the Army Signal Corps and foreign militaries).

During the Great Depression, FDR had poured money into transport (the Golden Gate Bridge) and energy (the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Hoover Dam). It sowed as well as reaped. The GI Bill provided returning veterans with a wide range of government services, such as low-cost mortgages (which helped to spark the construction boom) and education subsidies (which turned America into a world leader in the proportion of young people who went to college). In recent decades, as Robert Gordon has pointed out, productivity growth has been concentrated in a narrow range of economic activities—entertainment, communications, and IT. In the postwar years, people experienced rapid improvement in almost every aspect of their lives—housing, education, transportation, health care, and working conditions. Even farming saw a growth surge, with productivity growing by 4 percent a year from 1945 to 1960, compared with 1 percent a year from 1835 to 1935.


pages: 772 words: 203,182

What Went Wrong: How the 1% Hijacked the American Middle Class . . . And What Other Countries Got Right by George R. Tyler

8-hour work day, active measures, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Black Swan, blood diamonds, blue-collar work, Bolshevik threat, bonus culture, British Empire, business cycle, business process, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate personhood, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Diane Coyle, disruptive innovation, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, lake wobegon effect, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, performance metric, pirate software, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

Them spreading, CEOs had developed a fast trigger-finger, firing employees at the first hint of gunsmoke. Okun’s Law became an artifact. Today’s era of precarious employment featuring suddenly disposable employees was arriving, as explained in detail by economists such as Truman Bewley of Yale University.33 Firms became increasingly inclined in slowdowns to reduce employment rather than to hoard skilled employees. In fact, Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon concluded companies utilize downturns to boost profits by cutting 1.27 times more employees than justified by the decline in demand. Here is how Gordon described this new environment of what he termed “savage cost cutting”: “The intensity of cost-cutting reflected the interplay between executive compensation, the stock market, and corporate profits…. During the 1990s, corporate compensation has shifted to relying substantially on stock options … leading first to the temptation to engage in accounting tricks during 1998–2000 to maintain the momentum of earnings growth, and then sheer desperation to cut costs in response to the post-2000 collapse in reported S&P earnings and in the stock market.”34 This new pattern explains why employment fell more than the GDP during the credit crisis and recession, and why job growth has been anemic during the rebound.

Apple’s behavior—multiplied thousands of times—is a major reason why American wages are stagnating, opportunity shrinking, and income disparities widening in contrast to the family capitalism countries. The plight of millenials and their parents is not a temporary condition. Looking ahead, the Apple business model promises more stagnation and more family economic distress. The US business community is offshoring too many high-productivity jobs, exporting the source of traditional US growth. That compounds the drain on productivity from short-termism. And that’s why economists such as Robert Gordon, Jeremy Grantham, and experts at the Congressional Budget Office in 2012 downgraded your future.4 Recall that Gordon concluded that American productivity growth in the future will average a bare 1 percent: “Future growth in real GDP per capita will be slower than in any extended period since the late nineteenth century, and growth in real consumption per capita for the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution will be even slower than that.”5 The antigrowth aspects of Reaganomics have caused an enduring downshift in the potential growth rate of America.

Liveris argues that policy reforms are needed to end the decline: “At a time when US companies—run by patriotic people—are moving offshore at the fastest rate in history, we should, at a minimum, recognize that the model we are relying on isn’t working.”34 The erosion of American dynamism in manufacturing and in high-value services like computer design means new jobs are being concentrated in less-remunerative services where productivity growth tends to be weaker. These trends lend support to Robert Gordon and the Congressional Budget Office’s unsettling prognoses of slow growth in the years ahead. To create more high-productivity jobs, America needs new jobs in high-value services, in the innovation industry including Hollywood and especially in manufacturing where productivity growth is most promising and multiplier effects large. Despite slipping behind northern Europe in productivity performance, the United States remains the most innovative nation on earth.


pages: 223 words: 58,732

The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, affirmative action, Airbnb, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, carried interest, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, computer age, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, George Santayana, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, global supply chain, illegal immigration, imperial preference, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, liberal capitalism, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, moral panic, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, one-China policy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, reshoring, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, telepresence, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, white flight, World Values Survey, Yogi Berra

Though I try to avoid generalising about gender, it is fair to say that men are less adaptable to disruptions in their work routines than women, and more liable to vent their anger politically. To anyone who doubts that, I have a flying car to sell you. Meanwhile, remind yourselves of the impact manufacturing job losses have had on Western politics. Way more than half of Trump’s voters were male. The same applies to the Brexit electorate. As the baseball legend Yogi Berra allegedly said, it is tough to make predictions – especially about the future. The economist Robert Gordon clearly wasn’t listening. His book The Rise and Fall of American Growth makes a startling forecast that did not go down well in Silicon Valley. The future is not what it used to be, he says. The peak age of high growth and disruptive technology is behind us. Forget the power of the iPhone. Stop exulting about Google’s driverless car. Such wonders pale beside the changes felt by earlier generations.

(essay), 5, 14, 181 Garten, Jeffrey, From Silk to Silicon, 25 Gates, Bob, 177–8 gay marriage issue, 187, 188 gender, 57 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), 72 Genghis Khan, 25 gentrification, creeping, 46, 48, 50–1 Georgia, Rose Revolution (2003), 79 Germany, 15, 42, 43, 57, 78, 115; far-right resurgence in, 139–40; and future of EU, 180; Nazi, 116, 117, 155, 171; post-war constitution, 116; rise of from late nineteenth century, 156–7; Trump’s attitude towards, 179–80; vocational skills education, 197 gig economy, 62–5 Gladiator (film), 128–9 Glass, Ruth, 46 global economy: centre of gravity shifting eastwards, 21–2, 141; change of guard (January 2017), 19–20, 26–7; emerging middle classes, 21, 31, 39, 159; end of Washington Consensus, 29–30; fast-growing non-Western economies, 20–2; Great Convergence, 12, 13, 24, 25–33; Great Divergence, 13, 22–5; Great Recession, 63–4, 83–4, 192, 193; new protectionism, 19–20, 73, 149; ‘precariat’ (‘left-behinds’), 12, 13, 43–8, 50, 91, 98–9, 110, 111, 131; rapid expansion of China, 20–2, 25–8, 157, 159; spread of market economics, 8, 29; West’s middle-income problem, 13, 31–2, 34–41; see also globalisation, economic; growth, economic globalisation, economic: China as new guardian of, 19–20, 26–7; Bill Clinton on, 26; in decades preceding WW1, 155; Elephant Chart, 31–3; Friedman’s Golden Straitjacket, 74; Jeffrey Garten’s history of, 25; and global trilemma, 72–3; and multinational companies, 26–7; need to abandon deep globalisation, 73–4; next wave of, 32; radical impact of, 12–13; and stateless elites, 51, 71; and Summers’ responsible nationalism, 71–2; and technology, 55–6, 73, 174 Gongos (government-organised non-governmental organisations), 85 Google, 54, 67 Gordon, Robert, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, 57–8, 59–61 Graham, Lindsey, 134 Greece: classical, 4, 10, 25, 137–8, 156, 200; overthrow of military junta, 77 Greenspan, Alan, 71 growth, economic: and bad forecasting, 27; as Bell’s ‘secular religion’, 37; and digital economy, 54–5, 59, 60; Elephant Chart, 31–3; emerging economies as engine of, 21, 30, 31, 32; Golden Age for Western middle class, 33–4, 43; Robert Gordon’s thesis, 57–8, 59–61; and levels of trust, 38–9; as liberal democracy’s strongest glue, 13, 37, 103, 201–2; out-dated measurement models, 30–1; technological leap forward (from 1870), 58–9; West’s middle-income problem, 13, 31–2, 34–41 Hamilton, Alexander, 78 Harvard University, 44–5 healthcare and medicine, 35, 36, 42, 58, 59, 60, 62, 102, 103, 198 Hedges, Chris, Empire of Illusion, 125 Hegel, Friedrich, 161–2 Heilbroner, Robert, 10 Hispanics in USA, 94–5 history: 1930s extremism, 116–17; Chinese economy to 1840s, 22–3; Fukuyama’s ‘end of history’, 5, 14, 181; Great Divergence, 13, 22–5; Hobson’s prescience over China, 20–1; and inequality, 41–3; and journalists, 15; Keynes’ view, 153–5; Magna Carta, 9–10; of modern democracy, 112–17; nineteenth-century protectionism, 78; nineteenth-century European diplomacy, 7–8, 155–6, 171–2; non-Western versions of, 11; Obama on, 190; Peace of Westphalia (1648), 171; populist surge in late-nineteenth-century USA, 110–11; post-war golden era, 33–4, 43; post-war US foreign policy, 183–4; technological leap forward (from 1870), 58–9; theories of, 10–11, 14, 190; Thucydides trap, 156–7; utopian faith in technology, 127–8; Western thought on China, 158–9, 161–2; ‘wrong side of history’ language, 187–8, 190, 191–2; Zheng He’s naval fleet, 165–6; see also Cold War; Industrial Revolution Hitler, Adolf, 116, 128, 171 Hobbes, Thomas, 104 Hobsbawm, Eric, 5 Hobson, John, 20, 22–3 Hofer, Norbert, 15–16 homosexuality, 106, 107, 109–10 Hong Kong, 163–4 Hourly Nerd, 63 Hu Jintao, 159 Humphrey, Hubert, 189 Hungary, 12, 82, 138–9, 181 Huntington, Samuel, The Clash of Civilizations, 181 Huxley, Aldous, Brave New World, 128, 129 illiberal democracy concept, 119, 120, 136–7, 138–9, 204 India: caste system, 202; circular view of history, 11; colonial exploitation of, 22, 23, 55–6; democracy in, 201; future importance of, 167, 200–1; and Industrial Revolution, 23–4; internal migration in, 41; as nuclear power, 175; and offshoring, 61–2; pre-Industrial Revolution economy, 22; rapid expansion of, 21, 25, 28, 30, 58, 200, 201–2; Sino-Indian war (1962), 166; as ‘young’ society, 39, 200 Indonesia, 21 Industrial Revolution, 13, 22, 23–4, 46, 53; non-Western influences on, 24–5; and steam power, 24, 55–6 inequality: decline in post-war golden era, 43; and demophobia, 122–3; forces of equalisation, 41–3; global top 1 per cent, 32–3, 50–1; growth of in modern era, 13, 41, 43–51; in India, 202; in liberal cities, 49–51; in nineteenth century, 41; and physical segregation, 46–8; urban–hinterland split, 46–51 infant mortality, 58, 59 inflation, 36 Instagram, 54 intelligence agencies, 133–4 intolerance and incivility, 38 Iran, 175, 193, 194 Iraq War (2003), 8, 81, 85, 156 Isis (Islamic State), 178, 181, 182–3 Islam, 24–5; Trump’s targeting of Muslims, 135, 181–3, 195–6 Israel, 175 Jackson, Andrew, 113–14, 126, 134 Jacobi, Derek, 128–9 Japan, 78, 167, 175 Jefferson, Thomas, 56, 112, 163 Jobs, Steve, 25 Johnson, Boris, 48, 118–19 Jones, Dan, 9 Jospin, Lionel, 90 journalists, 15, 65 judiciary, US, 134–5 Kant, Immanuel, 126 Kaplan, Fred, Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War, 176–8 Kennedy, John F., 146, 165 Kerry, John, 8 Keynes, John Maynard, 153–5, 156 Khan, A.Q., 175 Khan, Sadiq, 49–50 Kissinger, Henry, 14, 162, 166 knowledge economy, 47, 61 Kreider, Tim, 111 Krugman, Paul, 162 Ku Klux Klan, 98, 111 labour markets: and digital revolution, 52–5, 56, 61–8; and disappearing growth, 37; driving jobs, 56–7, 63, 191; gig economy, 62–5; offshoring, 61–2; pressure to postpone retirement, 64; revolution in nature of work, 60–6, 191–3; security industry, 50; status of technical and service jobs, 197–8; and suburban crisis, 46; wage theft, 192; zero hours contracts, 191 Lanier, Jaron, 66, 67 Larkin, Philip, 188 Le Pen, Marine, 15, 102, 108–10 League of Nations, 155 Lee, Spike, 46 Lee Teng-hui, 158 left-wing politics: and automation, 67; decline in salience of class, 89–92, 107, 108–10; elite’s divorce from working classes, 87–8, 89–95, 99, 109, 110, 119; in France, 105–10; Hillaryland in USA, 87–8; and ‘identity liberalism’, 14, 96–8; McGovern–Fraser Commission (1972), 189; move to personal liberation (1960s), 188–9; populist right steals clothes of, 101–3; Third Way, 89–92; urban liberal elites, 47, 49–51, 71, 87–9, 91–5, 110, 204 Lehman Brothers, 30 Li, Eric, 86, 163–4 liberalism, Western: Chinese hostility to, 84–6, 159–60, 162; crisis as real and structural, 15–16; declining belief in ‘meritocracy’, 44–6; declining hegemony of, 14, 21–2, 26–8, 140–1, 200–1; elites as out of touch, 14, 68–71, 73, 87–8, 91–5, 110, 111, 119, 204; and ‘identity liberalism’, 14, 96–8; linear view of history, 10–11; Magna Carta as founding myth of, 9–10; majority-white backlash concept, 12, 14, 96, 102, 104; psychology of dashed expectations, 34–41; scepticism as basis of, 10; and Trump’s victory, 11–12, 28, 79, 81, 111; ‘wrong side of history’ language, 187–8, 190, 191–2; see also democracy, liberal Lilla, Mark, 96, 98 Lincoln, Abraham, 146 Lindbergh, Charles, 117 literacy, mass, 43, 59 Lloyd George, David, 42 Locke, John, 104 London, 46, 47, 48, 49–50, 140 Los Angeles, 50 Machiavelli, Niccolò, 133 Magna Carta, 9–10 Mahbubani, Kishore, 162 Mailer, Norman, Miami and the Siege of Chicago, 189 Mair, Peter, 88, 89, 118 Mann, Thomas, 203 Mao Zedong, 163, 165 Marconi, Guglielmo, 128 Marcos, Ferdinand, 136 Marshall, John, 134 Marshall Plan, 29 Marxism, 10, 11, 51, 68, 106, 110, 162 Mattis, Jim, 150–1 May, Theresa, 100, 152, 153 McAfee, Andrew, 60 McCain, John, 134 McMahon, Vince and Linda, 124, 125 McMaster, H.


pages: 403 words: 105,431

The death and life of the great American school system: how testing and choice are undermining education by Diane Ravitch

David Brooks, desegregation, hiring and firing, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, longitudinal study, mega-rich, Menlo Park, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, school choice, school vouchers, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

If students succeeded, it was the teacher who did it. If students got low scores, it was the teacher’s fault. Teachers were both the cause of low performance and the cure for low performance. The solution was to get rid of bad teachers and recruit only good ones. Of course, it was difficult to know how to recruit good teachers when the determination of their effectiveness required several years of classroom data. A 2006 paper by Robert Gordon, Thomas J. Kane, and Douglas O. Staiger, titled “Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job,” took the argument a step further. Like Hanushek and Rivkin, these authors maintained that “paper qualifications,” such as degrees, licenses, and certification, do not predict who will be a good teacher. The differences, they said, between “stronger teachers” and “weaker teachers” become clear only after teachers have been teaching for “a couple of years.”

They agreed that value-added measures of student performance were essential in identifying effective teachers. They recommended that school districts pay bonuses to effective teachers who teach in high-poverty schools. And they recommended that the federal government provide grants to states to build data systems to “link student performance with the effectiveness of individual teachers over time.” These recommendations were of more than academic interest, because one of the authors, Robert Gordon of the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based think tank, was subsequently selected by the Obama administration to serve as deputy director for education in the Office of Management and Budget, where he was able to promote his policy ideas. And sure enough, President Obama’s education program included large sums of money for states to build data systems that would link student test scores to individual teachers, as well as funds for merit pay plans that would reward teachers for increasing their students’ test scores.

Sanders responded in an interview: Debra Viadero, “‘Value-Added’ Pioneer Says Stinging Critique of Method is Off-Base,” Education Week, May 7, 2008. 14 Eric A. Hanushek and Steven G. Rivkin, “How to Improve the Supply of High-Quality Teachers,” Brookings Papers on Education Policy, ed. Diane Ravitch (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2004), 14, 16, 19, 21-23. 15 Richard Rothstein, “Comment,” Brookings Papers on Education Policy (2004), 26-27. 16 Robert Gordon, Thomas J. Kane, and Douglas O Staiger, “Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job,” Discussion Paper 2006- 01, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., 5-6. 17 Ibid., 8. 18 Some educators created personality profiles to screen potential teachers, but economists ignored them; www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/innovator/2004/0223.html. 19 Dale Ballou, “Sizing Up Test Scores,” Education Next, Summer 2002, 12-13, 15. 20 Dan Goldhaber and Michael Hansen, Assessing the Potential of Using Value-Added Estimates of Teacher Job Performance for Making Tenure Decisions (Washington, D.C.: CALDER, Urban Institute, 2008), 1, 5-6. 21 Cory Koedel and Julian R.


pages: 374 words: 111,284

The AI Economy: Work, Wealth and Welfare in the Robot Age by Roger Bootle

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, anti-work, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, facts on the ground, financial intermediation, full employment, future of work, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mega-rich, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, positional goods, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, social intelligence, spinning jenny, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, Y2K, Yogi Berra

A reduction in such spending will restrain the growth of productivity because it reduces the amount of capital that workers have to work with. But some economists provide an explanation for the current state of the world economy that is explicitly driven from the supply side. Indeed, it is essentially technological. That is to say, they argue that weak growth is at bottom due to the slow rate of technological progress.27 The most famous and the most cogent of these economists is the American scholar Robert Gordon.28 He argues that the recent slowdown in global growth cannot be blamed simply on weakness of aggregate demand or slower growth of the working population. From what we can tell, the underlying growth of productivity appears to have slowed markedly. Gordon says that we should see this in a long historical context. He argues that we should look upon the Industrial Revolution as a one-off event.

Yet the Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Solow famously remarked in 1987: “you can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” 29 (Mind you, the pickup in US productivity in the late 1990s suggests that the gains from computers were real but, as with many other advances, delayed.) The American entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Peter Thiel, has put recent technological disappointment more pithily. He has said: “We wanted flying cars. Instead, we got 140 characters.” This contention of Robert Gordon’s that technological progress has largely run its course is sensational. Think of it: the rapid development of the emerging markets slowing inexorably; overall economic progress essentially dribbling away to nothing; living standards barely rising at all; no prospect of the next generation being appreciably better off than the current one; a return to the situation and the outlook (if not the living standards) that pertained before the Industrial Revolution.

As we saw in the previous chapter, the key characteristics of technological change since the Industrial Revolution have been a relentless increase in productivity that has underpinned a dramatic increase in living standards, and the replacement of many jobs lost because of these technological advances with new jobs created. There are essentially two broad strands to the view that this time it really is different. The first is that developments with regard to robots and AI are really a non-revolution. In essence, this contention amounts to an extension of Robert Gordon’s criticisms of the communications revolution that we encountered in the previous chapter. The critics say that there is a great deal of sound and fury about this subject, but it signifies not very much at all. In essence, they say that this “revolution” is different from everything that has happened since the Industrial Revolution because the engine of economic progress has ground to a halt.


pages: 464 words: 116,945

Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism by David Harvey

accounting loophole / creative accounting, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, California gold rush, call centre, central bank independence, clean water, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, drone strike, end world poverty, falling living standards, fiat currency, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Food sovereignty, Frank Gehry, future of work, global reserve currency, Guggenheim Bilbao, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, microcredit, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, peak oil, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wages for housework, Wall-E, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

Even the dismal science of conventional economics, as Michael Hudson shows in a recent trenchant commentary, has failed to recognise the significance of compounding interest on rising indebtedness.1 The result has been to obscure a key part of the explanation for the financial disruptions that shook the world in 2008. So is perpetual compounding growth possible? In recent times there has been a flurry of worry among some economists that faith in the long-held supposition of perpetual growth might be misplaced. Robert Gordon, for example, has suggested in a recent paper that the economic growth experienced over the last 250 years ‘could well be a unique episode in human history rather than a guarantee of endless future advance at the same rate’. His case rests largely on an overview of the path and effects of innovations in the productivity of labour which have underpinned the growth of per capita incomes. Gordon joins with several other economists in thinking that the innovation waves of the past have been much stronger than the most recent wave, resting on electronics and computerisation, that began around the 1960s.

Even in the case of the long-term financing of infrastructures (such as roads, public works, urbanisation) there was a reasonable presumption that the debt would ultimately be paid off out of the increasing productivity of the social labour engaged in production. It could also be reasonably assumed that all of this would generate increasing per capita incomes. The interstate highway system built in the United States during the three decades after 1960 had a huge impact upon aggregate labour productivity and paid off handsomely. This was, in Robert Gordon’s account, the strongest innovation wave in capital’s history.13 There have always been significant circuits of what can be called ‘fictitious capital’ – investments in mortgages, public debt, urban and national infrastructures and the like. From time to time these flows of fictitious capital got out of hand to form speculative bubbles that ultimately burst to form serious financial and commercial crises.

This is one of the only economics texts I know that takes the issue of compound growth seriously. I have used some of his materials in what follows. When I raised the question of compound growth in 2011 with two senior economics editors of a major global newspaper, one of them shrugged off the question as trivial if not laughable, while the other said there were still plenty of new technological frontiers to explore so why worry. 2. Robert Gordon, ‘Is U.S. Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds’, Working Paper 18315, Cambridge, MA, National Bureau of Economic Research, 2012. The public reaction to Gordon’s arguments are covered in Thomas Edsall, ‘No More Industrial Revolutions’, New York Times, 15 October 2012. The general public reaction was that Gordon probably had a point but that he was too pessimistic on the future impact of innovations.


pages: 239 words: 70,206

Data-Ism: The Revolution Transforming Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, and Almost Everything Else by Steve Lohr

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bioinformatics, business cycle, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, David Brooks, East Village, Edward Snowden, Emanuel Derman, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Glasses, impulse control, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of writing, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, natural language processing, obamacare, pattern recognition, payday loans, personalized medicine, precision agriculture, pre–internet, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Most of the maintenance today is done data-blind, using rule-of-thumb standard schedules and in reaction to breakdowns. Huge savings, the authors declare, will result from individualized, predictive servicing of industrial equipment, made possible by sensors and data analysis. The result, they write, will be to move close to the ideal of “zero unplanned downtime.” But data doubters are not persuaded. And the most prominent pessimist is Robert Gordon, a leading economic historian and a professor at Northwestern University, who made his case in a research paper published in August 2012, “Is U.S. Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds.” In his paper, Gordon asserts that the gains from computing and the Internet have petered out in the past decade. Linking modern communications to computing, he observes, brought the Internet uptick in productivity from 1996 to 2004, a relatively brief historical period.

“When the machines can learn”: Anil Varma’s descriptions and quotes come from an interview on Oct. 30, 2012. “an exciting place for data and analytics right now”: From an e-mail he sent on June 16, 2014. a report coauthored by its chief economist Marco Annunziata and Peter Evans: The report, titled The Industrial Internet@Work, was published on Oct. 28, 2013. https://www.ge.com/sites/default/files/GE_IndustrialInternetatWork_WhitePaper_20131028.pdf. “Is U.S. Economic Growth Over?”: Robert Gordon’s critique was a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, published in August 2012. http://www.nber.org/papers/w18315.pdf. Gordon responded to his detractors: His piece in the Wall Street Journal, titled “Why Innovation Won’t Save Us,” was published in a weekend edition, Dec. 22–23, 2013, p. C3. http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/economics/gordon/WSJ_121222.pdf. 8: The Yin and Yang of Behavior and Data Yoky Matsuoka was known as a robot wizard: Matsuoka’s descriptions and quotes come mainly from an interview on Nov. 18, 2011.


pages: 424 words: 119,679

It's Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear by Gregg Easterbrook

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, air freight, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, coronavirus, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, factory automation, failed state, full employment, Gini coefficient, Google Earth, Home mortgage interest deduction, hydraulic fracturing, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, longitudinal study, Lyft, mandatory minimum, manufacturing employment, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, The Chicago School, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, uber lyft, universal basic income, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, working poor, Works Progress Administration

At the 1950–2000 rate of annualized growth, household income doubles in about twenty-five years: A handy rule is that any annual percent divided into 72 produces the length of time required for income to double. So, for example, 2 percent growth, divided into 72, shows that income will double in thirty-six years. Phillip Longman has written: Phillip Longman, “Justice Between Generations,” The Atlantic, June 1985. Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon has won praise from pundits: Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016). The Pew Charitable Trusts found in a 2013 study: “Why Do Some Americans Leave the Bottom of the Economic Ladder But Not Others?” (Philadelphia: Pew Charitable Trusts, 2013). Economist Martin Feldstein of Harvard University has argued: Martin Feldstein, “The US Underestimates Growth,” Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2015.

Phillip Longman has written, “The idea that Americans are bound by destiny to experience ever-greater affluence has been an article of faith since the Second World War.” Western society has entered a phase of preoccupation with discovering previously unknown grievances, one of which is that because of slower growth, the next generation won’t live dramatically better than the present one. Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon has won praise from pundits by producing studies and essays taking the view that the slowdown in growth is not just bad for the national debt but a calamity that ends the American Dream. This aggressive claim can be disputed. The Pew Charitable Trusts found in a 2013 study that, adjusting for age and smaller families, 84 percent of Americans earn more than their parents did. Most US citizens in the top fifth for income grew up in homes that were not top-fifth, an indication that social mobility continues.


pages: 306 words: 78,893

After the New Economy: The Binge . . . And the Hangover That Won't Go Away by Doug Henwood

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, borderless world, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation coefficient, credit crunch, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, deskilling, ending welfare as we know it, feminist movement, full employment, gender pay gap, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, income inequality, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Internet Archive, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, labor-force participation, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, manufacturing employment, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Naomi Klein, new economy, occupational segregation, pets.com, post-work, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, union organizing, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

The contribution of 2003-vintage computers must be reconciled with the contribution of the 2000-vintage. Not easy in practice, but conceivable in principle. What might shock civiHans, though, is that the labor input must also be adjusted for quality, so that the contributions of the experienced engineer and the green janitor can be expressed in the same metric. To the more softhearted among us, that seems a bit callous—and it even gets ugly. For example, Robert Gordon (2000) attributes the slowdown in productivity growth in the 1970s to deterioration in average workforce quality, specifically, the "shift toward less experienced teenagers and the rapid inflow of females into the labor force." Yes, teens are inexperienced and even moody, but why should the flow of women into paid work be so corrupting? In an email, Gordon helpfully explained that wages reflect productivity, so if women earn 60% of what men do (which is roughly what they did in thirty years ago, compared with 73% today), then clearly they constituted only 60% as much "effective labor."

With so much of real growth 62 After the New Economy now concentrated in computers and other high-tech areas—dependent on the quirks of price indexes and quaHty adjustments—reported growth may have less relevance to the average person in the street than ever. One in five children in poverty, 41 miUion people without health insurance—but processor speed is doubHng every year and a halfl Cordon's critique Prestige economics' most prominent critic of these productivity revo arguments is Robert Gordon of Northwestern. Initially, he argued that after correcting for the unsustainably strong economy of the late 1990s, the acceleration in productivity was almost entirely concentrated in computers and other high-tech. Normal benchmark revisions of the GDP data forced him to retreat from the claim a bit. More recendy, Gordon (2000) argues that most of it is still concentrated there, with some in other branches of durable-goods manufacturing, but almost invisible in the other 88% of the private economy—services and nondurable manufacturing.


pages: 240 words: 75,304

Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time by Clark Blaise

British Empire, creative destruction, Dava Sobel, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Khartoum Gordon, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, undersea cable, Upton Sinclair

He obviously knew how to compute the time, although his method was, as might be expected, a curious mixture of the natural and rational. He was computing the nautical day, “natural” time at sea, yet not making the “rational” leap into mean (averaged) time. Standardization simply had not yet become an urgent matter, except with regard to the floating lunch hour. When he landed in Glasgow, he ran into a bootblack, “wee Robert Gordon,” whose pert, aggressive ways sold him on a shine. He also hired the boy to take him on a walking tour of Glasgow. I invited the little boot-black to breakfast with me which he gladly accepted. He sat opposite me and we had a long chat. He supports a widowed mother and earns from 8/- to 12/- per week. He had two boiled eggs, one cup of good coffee, two thick slices of bread and butter for the sum of tenpence or fivepence each.

He had two boiled eggs, one cup of good coffee, two thick slices of bread and butter for the sum of tenpence or fivepence each. Robert then took me from Jamaica Street where we breakfasted along Buchanan and Argyle Streets to see the shops and I left him at the Exchange to pursue his vocation. I found Robert an intelligent boy and one who is bound to succeed in life. No, there followed no promise of sponsorship to Canada, a job, or a college scholarship for wee Robert Gordon. There is simple (“manly,” as Thoreau might have put it) recognition of a lad, much like himself, whose pride and genius for hard work, for responsibility, for individualism, recommended him to the future, another spiritual son of the patron saint of all self-made entrepreneurs, all young men of pluck, industry, native intelligence, and cultivated good luck, Benjamin Franklin. FOR THE FIRST TIME in his adult life he was back in Britain, and for the very first time in London.


pages: 58 words: 18,747

The Rent Is Too Damn High: What to Do About It, and Why It Matters More Than You Think by Matthew Yglesias

Edward Glaeser, falling living standards, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, industrial robot, Jane Jacobs, land reform, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, pets.com, rent control, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, statistical model, transcontinental railway, urban sprawl, white picket fence

The main reason it doesn’t happen is that it’s hard to get permission to build. As a result, the idea of the wealthy landowner has become relevant again in the United States. Indeed, relevant in a way that (in some respects) it’s only rarely been in our history. Return again to the idea that $250,000 doesn’t buy you as much in Manhattan as it does in Fargo. Northwestern University professor Robert Gordon cited much data along these lines in a paper asking “Has the Rise in American Inequality Been Exaggerated?” and answering, as you can imagine from the title, that it has been. Many observers have noted that the so-called college wage premium—the gap between what college graduates and those without college degrees earn—has increased over the past thirty or forty years. This increases income inequality.


pages: 301 words: 89,076

The Globotics Upheaval: Globalisation, Robotics and the Future of Work by Richard Baldwin

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, computer vision, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, future of journalism, future of work, George Gilder, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, impulse control, income inequality, industrial robot, intangible asset, Internet of things, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, mass incarceration, Metcalfe’s law, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, post-work, profit motive, remote working, reshoring, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, standardized shipping container, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, universal basic income

Technology Produces Technology—the Second Industrial Revolution The happy helix, which had been spinning upward since the early 1700s, reached a new plateau in the second half of the 1800s. As machinery got more sophisticated, power got cheaper, and science was increasingly applied to industrial matters, a whole new group of industries sprung up. This created masses of new jobs for workers making things that had never existed—except in the science fiction novels of Jules Verne. Robert Gordon, a professor of economics at Northwestern University, argues that the Second Industrial Revolution—what he calls the “special century” (1870–1970)—dropped a cluster bomb of innovations on the advanced economies. The economic “bomblets” exploded over a wide area, with each explosion producing a chain reaction of innovation, rising productivity, and income growth.7 This was an example of the happy helix of innovation and industrialization creating masses of new jobs in brand new sectors.

For Germany, the 1960s were a miracle, with growth of almost 4 percent annually, but since 2000, the average has been more like 1 percent per year. Change is always easier when incomes are, on average, rising quickly. The opposite is true as well. The whole adjustment process was made more difficult by the fact that economic growth slipped into low gear. The economics profession still does not have a full explanation for this, but one notion that fits tightly into the Serivces Transformation is the story told by Robert Gordon, whose ideas we encountered in Chapter 2. He argues that growth and innovation didn’t slow down from the 1970s but rather that they returned to historical norms. The cluster of new inventions that arose from about 1870 accelerated innovation and thus incomes, but not forever. The collection of new inventions—everything from electric motors to plastics—proved to be a rich pallet with which clever inventors “painted” new products and new ways of making old products.


pages: 324 words: 80,217

The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success by Ross Douthat

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, charter city, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, ghettoisation, gig economy, Haight Ashbury, helicopter parent, hive mind, Hyperloop, immigration reform, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Islamic Golden Age, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, life extension, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, megacity, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Oculus Rift, open borders, out of africa, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, QAnon, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social web, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, women in the workforce, Y2K

My diagnosis of our condition is a journalist’s, and, as such, it owes debts to many more expert thinkers who will be quoted amply in the pages to come. Since the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession exposed almost a decade’s worth of Western growth as an illusion, a diverse cast of economists and political scientists and other figures on both the left and the right have begun to talk about stagnation and repetition and complacency and sclerosis as defining features of this Western age: Tyler Cowen and Robert Gordon, Thomas Piketty and Francis Fukuyama, David Graeber and Peter Thiel, and many others. This book is, in part, an attempt to synthesize their various perspectives into a compelling account of our situation. But it also weaves the social sciences together with observations on our intellectual climate, our popular culture, our religious moment, our technological pastimes, in the hopes of painting a fuller portrait of our decadence than you can get just looking at political science papers on institutional decay or an economic analysis of the declining rate of growth.

For the pessimists, the unusual features of the post-2007 landscape—the persistently low interest rates, the low rate of inflation, the disappointing rate of growth, the great fortunes parked in rent-seeking rather than risk-taking—are actually inevitabilities in a developed world where there just aren’t enough impressive enterprises to invest in; a developed world that inflates bubbles and then pops them (or invests in Theranos and then repents) because that’s all there is for capital to do; a developed world slowly growing accustomed to unexpected limits on its future possibilities. The most convincing theorists of limits include Cowen, in his 2011 book The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better, and his fellow economist Robert Gordon, in his magisterial 2016 work, The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War. Both authors would agree with portions of the arguments I’ve just sketched about neoliberalism pushed too far or misapplied, and an economy stalled by inequality or captured by a self-dealing upper class. But both offer a wider lens on the developed world’s stagnation and a longer list of forces slowing growth.


pages: 346 words: 89,180

Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel, Stian Westlake

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, business climate, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, full employment, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mother of all demos, Network effects, new economy, open economy, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, place-making, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, quantitative hedge fund, rent-seeking, revision control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Vanguard fund, walkable city, X Prize, zero-sum game

In his 2011 bestseller The Great Stagnation, economist Tyler Cowen suggested that developed countries might have exhausted easy sources of good investments, such as settling new land or getting children to spend more years in education. Most memorably, he argued that technological progress might have slowed down, or, more specifically, that the economic benefit of new discoveries was less than had been the case in the past. The economist and economic historian Robert Gordon developed this theme in his influential 2016 book The Rise and Fall of American Growth, in which he argued that the inventions over the twentieth century, such as electricity, indoor plumbing, and the like, were part of “one big wave of innovation” that will not be repeated. This explanation for secular stagnation has proved controversial, not least because it turns out to be very difficult to measure whether technological progress has slowed down.

Paying for citizens to go to school for longer was, for much of twentieth century, an important way that governments increased productivity; the economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz documented the vital role of education in the economic growth of the United States, pointing out, for example, that while 62 percent of the 1930 US birth cohort graduated from high school, 85 percent of the 1975 cohort did (Goldin and Katz 2008). Robert Gordon and Tyler Cowen have argued that there are diminishing returns here—children and young people can only spend so long in school or college—and that this will prove to be a major brake on US economic growth in the future (Gordon 2016; Cowen 2011). Working out how to defy these diminishing returns has proved challenging. Goldin and Katz suggest more targeted support at all stages of education to increase the supply of educated workers: more very early stage support, lower class sizes for middle schools, and more support for college.


pages: 357 words: 95,986

Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams

3D printing, additive manufacturing, air freight, algorithmic trading, anti-work, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, basic income, battle of ideas, blockchain, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, deskilling, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, late capitalism, liberation theology, Live Aid, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, patent troll, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, post scarcity, post-work, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Slavoj Žižek, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, surplus humans, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wages for housework, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

World Economic Outlook 2015: Uneven Growth: Short- and Long-Term Factors (Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 2015), pp. 69–71, pdf available at imf.org. 133.We do not pretend to adjudicate between the competing explanations here, but merely point to the growing consensus about a new era of lower growth: Andrew Kliman, ‘What Lies Ahead: Accelerating Growth or Secular Stagnation?’ E-International Relations, 24 January 2014, at e-ir.info; Robert Gordon, Is US Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds, Working Paper, National Bureau of Economic Research, August 2012, at nber.org; Lawrence Summers, ‘US Economic Prospects: Secular Stagnation, Hysteresis, and the Zero Lower Bound’, Business Economics 49: 2 (2014); Tyler Cowen, The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better (New York: Dutton, 2011); Coen Teulings and Richard Baldwin, eds, Secular Stagnation: Facts, Causes and Cures (London: CEPR, 2014). 134.Cowen, Great Stagnation, pp. 47–8. 135.Thor Berger and Carl Benedikt Frey, Industrial Renewal in the 21st Century: Evidence from US Cities?

The ILO also argues that today’s sluggish global job growth is related largely to sluggish economic growth, but they also note that productivity growth has recovered quicker than employment growth. ILO, World Employment and Social Outlook: The Changing Nature of Jobs (Geneva: International Labour Organization, 2015), pp. 19, 23. 40.Bank of International Settlements, Annual Report, 2013/2014 (Basel: Bank for International Settlements, 2014), at bis.org, pp. 58–60; Robert Gordon, ‘US Productivity Growth: The Slowdown Has Returned After a Temporary Revival’, International Productivity Monitor 25 (2013); David Autor, ‘Roundtable: The Future of Jobs’, presented at the The Future of Work in the Age of the Machine, Hamilton Project, Washington, DC, 19 February 2015, at hamiltonproject.org. 41.Susantu Basu and John Fernald, Information and Communications Technology as a General-Purpose Technology: Evidence from U.S.


pages: 375 words: 88,306

The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism by Arun Sundararajan

additive manufacturing, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, distributed ledger, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, housing crisis, Howard Rheingold, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, job-hopping, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, moral panic, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, peer-to-peer rental, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ross Ulbricht, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Zipcar

It is possible, as Bhavish Aggarwal, the youthful co-founder and CEO of Ola suggested to me in 2015, that of the hundreds of millions of the newly minted Indian middle class who attain an income level that allows them to consider buying a car over the coming decade, many will “leapfrog” the inefficient ownership phase entirely, instead entering the automobile usage market directly as on-demand consumers. In a series of recent talks, the economist Robert Gordon from Northwestern University has lamented the slowdown in US productivity growth and, in particular, the absence of clear evidence that the digital revolution of the last two decades has had a significant impact on the growth rates of total factor productivity. A now-famous slide from one of his recent articles is replicated in figure 5.2.21 Figure 5.2 Growth rate of total factor productivity for each ten-year period (i.e., for the decades ending 1900 to 2010).

Hitt, “Job Hopping, Information Technology Spillovers, and Productivity Growth,” Management Science 60, 2 (2013): 338–355. 19. One might instead consider using the term “efficiency” of capital or “productivity” of capital. However, these words have specific (and somewhat distinct) meanings in economics that don’t fully capture what I’m trying to communicate. 20. Clay Shirky, from a talk at the Collaborative-Peer-Sharing Economy Summit, New York University, May 30, 2014. 21. Robert Gordon, “US Economic Growth Is Over: The Short Run Meets the Long Run,” in Think Tank 20: Growth, Convergence and Income Distribution: The Road from the Brisbane G-2- Summit (Washington DC: Brookings Institute, 2015), 188. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Research/Files/Interactives/2014/thinktank20/chapters/tt20-united-states-economic-growth-gordon.pdf?la=en. 22. Hal R. Varian and Carl Shapiro call this the “demand-side economies of scale” in their book Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (Cambridge: Harvard Business Books, 1999). 23.


pages: 323 words: 90,868

The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century by Ryan Avent

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gig economy, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, mass immigration, means of production, new economy, performance metric, pets.com, post-work, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, very high income, working-age population

Dramatic, wrenching technological transformations occurred in a handful of economies: South Korea and Singapore, for example, and more recently China. But these were merely examples of the delayed arrival of the whirlwind that had upended rich countries in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After so long a period of modest economic evolution, many of us have forgotten that economic advance ever occurs at any other speed. Some techno-pessimists, such as Robert Gordon, an economist at Northwestern University, argue that the slowdown is irreversible. Technological progress, he argues, gathered momentum over a long period of time thanks to a series of fundamental intellectual insights. The development of a deep understanding of what electricity is and how it might be used is not something that can easily – or perhaps ever – be duplicated. The inventions that followed on from advances in the science of electricity, and in other areas, are not like water drawn from a river but like coal mined from the earth: society couldn’t help but exploit the most accessible, most abundant veins first, leaving only the marginal, difficult things for later generations (like ours).4 Worse, the pessimistic view runs, the deceleration in intellectual progress is itself evidence that there are few, if any, fundamental insights such as that into the science of electricity still remaining out there, waiting to be discovered.

In 1987 the Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Solow mused, in a piece pooh-poohing the prospect of a looming technological transformation, that the evidence for the revolutionary power of computers simply wasn’t there. ‘You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics’, he reckoned, and he had a point.9 Productivity perked up in the 1990s but wheezed out again in the 2000s. And that, some seemed to conclude, was all there was. In the 2000s Robert Gordon began posing a thought experiment to his audiences: would they, he wondered, prefer a world with all the available technology up to 2000, or one with all available technology up to the present day except for indoor plumbing? His little test effectively made the point that what occurred in the second industrial revolution was powerfully transformative, in a way the advances of the internet age simply weren’t.


pages: 90 words: 27,452

No More Work: Why Full Employment Is a Bad Idea by James Livingston

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, business cycle, collective bargaining, delayed gratification, full employment, future of work, Internet of things, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, obamacare, post-work, Project for a New American Century, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, surplus humans, The Future of Employment, union organizing, working poor

Soon even higher education, the last redoubt of debtors’ prison, will be free, not because the politicians will restore Pell Grants and fund state universities, but because MOOCs and YouTube will give everyone online access to the most influential academics on the planet—from Michael Sandel and Martha Nussbaum to David Harvey. Rifkin and I agree that as the market registers fewer transactions—as we produce and distribute more goods without the mediation of money—our assessments of future economic growth, GDP and so forth, must begin to look bleak. Leading economists such as Robert Gordon and Tyler Cowen have, accordingly, predicted the decline of innovation and the end of growth. After all, the Commerce Department can’t measure what’s off the books. But that’s the thing about this new stage of economic development—it can’t be measured by the old quantitative criteria, even though we’re unquestionably producing more of what we need and want. The creators and purveyors of information—journalists, educators, musicians, filmmakers, geeks in general—aren’t working any fewer hours than they used to.


pages: 98 words: 27,609

The American Dream Is Not Dead: (But Populism Could Kill It) by Michael R. Strain

Bernie Sanders, business cycle, centre right, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, feminist movement, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, income inequality, job automation, labor-force participation, market clearing, market fundamentalism, new economy, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, upwardly mobile, working poor

Men saw their college-degree attainment increase from 21 percent in 1980 to 35 percent in 2018.25 In 1983, the median net worth for a family was approximately $52,000 (inflation-adjusted to 2016 dollars).26 By 2016, median net worth had grown to $97,300.27 I don’t want to take up too much space demonstrating the obvious in this short book, but here are some additional datums taken from two recent books, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, by the economist Robert Gordon, and Enlightenment Now by Stephen Pinker.: Improvements in heart attack survival rates from 1984 to 1998 yielded a one-year increase in life expectancy worth $70,000 for a $10,000 cost of improved medical technology.28 According to Gordon, the mortality rate from cardiovascular/renal disease has fallen from 500 people per 100,000 in 1970 to under 300 per 100,000 in 2007.29 And by 2017, cardiovascular deaths had fallen to 165 per 100,000.30 The development of antiretroviral therapy has improved quality of life for 1.2 million Americans with HIV and allowed them to have an “almost normal lifespan without experiencing serious illnesses related to their HIV infection.”31 Nearly 90 percent of households had computers, and nearly 80 percent had internet access by 2013.


pages: 436 words: 98,538

The Upside of Inequality by Edward Conard

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, assortative mating, bank run, Berlin Wall, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, future of work, Gini coefficient, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, total factor productivity, twin studies, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, University of East Anglia, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, zero-sum game

By all measures, effort (the amount of resources devoted to innovation) and outputs (productivity growth relative to other high-wage economies) of U.S. investment to produce innovation appear to be both substantially higher and more successful. There are also reasons to believe productivity growth is higher than it appears to be. The Boskin Commission and decades of follow-up work by Northwestern University’s Robert Gordon, for example, also find understatement of productivity growth. This understatement largely stems from the U.S. Consumer Price Index’s failure to fully account for the value of replacing old goods with more valuable innovations—for example, by replacing landline-based telephones with smartphones. Properly accounting for these productivity gains boosts GDP growth upwards of 1 percent per year, which is substantial since GDP grows only 2 to 3 percent a year.27 Goldman Sachs economists Jan Hatzius and Kris Dawsey reach the following conclusion about slowing versus unmeasured productivity growth: Measured productivity growth has slowed sharply in recent years. . . .

John Cochrane, “Toward a Run-Free Financial System,” National Bureau of Economic Research, 2014, https://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/john.co chrane/research/papers/run_free.pdf. Edward Lazear, “How Not to Prevent the Next Financial Meltdown,” Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-not-to-pre vent-the-next-financial-meltdown-1443827426. 30. Conard, Unintended Consequences. 31. Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016). Tyler Cowen, The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better (New York: Dutton, 2011). 32. John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of Peace (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920). 33. Paul Krugman, “The Conscience of a Liberal: Stimulus Arithmetic (Wonkish but Important),” New York Times, January 6, 2009, http://krugman.blogs.ny times.com/2009/01/06/stimulus-arithmetic-wonkish-but-important. 34.


pages: 116 words: 31,356

Platform Capitalism by Nick Srnicek

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, deindustrialization, deskilling, disintermediation, future of work, gig economy, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mittelstand, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, platform as a service, quantitative easing, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, TaskRabbit, the built environment, total factor productivity, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, unconventional monetary instruments, unorthodox policies, Zipcar

It is the latter dynamic, in particular, that will play a key role in the changes that lie at heart of this book. But before we can understand the digital economy we must look back to an earlier period. The End of the Postwar Exception It is increasingly obvious to many that we live in a time still coming to terms with the breakdown of the postwar settlement. Thomas Piketty argues that the reduction in inequality after the Second World War was an exception to the general rule of capitalism; Robert Gordon sees high productivity growth in the middle of the twentieth century as an exception to the historical norm; and numerous thinkers on the left have long argued that the postwar period was an unsustainably good period for capitalism.4 That exceptional moment – broadly defined at the international level by embedded liberalism, at the national level by social democratic consensus, and at the economic level by Fordism – has been falling apart since the 1970s.


pages: 338 words: 106,936

The Physics of Wall Street: A Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable by James Owen Weatherall

Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Asian financial crisis, bank run, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, dark matter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, George Akerlof, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Rogoff, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, martingale, Myron Scholes, new economy, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, prediction markets, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic process, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, tulip mania, Vilfredo Pareto, volatility smile

The challenge was to find an argument for why inflation calculations should be modified. This is where the Boskin Commission came in. It was a masterful sleight of hand. Working backward from the figure of $1 trillion, which Moynihan believed would be necessary to keep Social Security solvent, he and Packwood determined that inflation would need to be reduced by 1.1%. According to notes written by Robert Gordon, an economist at Northwestern University and one of the five members of the commission, Dale Jorgenson — the Harvard economist who had thrown Malaney out of his office — reported to the commission early on that they were aiming for $1 trillion in Social Security savings over ten years, and that this meant they needed to come up with the requisite reduction in inflation. Then the committee broke up into two teams to work on different ways in which the problems of changing preferences and changing quality could affect CPI.

”: For a history of the politics surrounding Social Security, see Beland (2005), Altman (2005), or Baker and Weisbrot (1999). “. . . until Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Bob Packwood . . . shared a moment of inspiration . . .”: See Sheehan (2010), Moynihan (1996), and Katzmann (2008) for various perspectives on the origins of the Boskin Commission. “According to notes written by Robert Gordon . . .”: The notes I am alluding to are Gordon (2002). Gordon also tells the story of the Boskin Commission and its critics in Gordon (2006), though this narrative version does not include Moynihan’s role. “The Boskin Commission’s findings were criticized from all corners”: See especially Sheehan (2010), as well as Triplett (2006) and Bosworth (1997). “Ultimately, the Boskin Commission’s recommendations were squashed . . .”: For an account of how the Bureau of Labor Statistics incorporated some of the Boskin Commission’s recommendations, see Greenlees (2006).


pages: 419 words: 109,241

A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond by Daniel Susskind

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, computerized trading, creative destruction, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Hargreaves, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Metcalfe’s law, natural language processing, Network effects, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, precariat, purchasing power parity, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social intelligence, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, wealth creators, working poor, working-age population, Y Combinator

Unless we pack up our creative instincts and put away our impulse to innovate, unless we shout “job done” and wash our hands of AI as a field, the machines we build in the future will be far more capable than they are today. I hope that even the most conservative economists who think about the future would not disagree that this is our direction of travel: machines gradually encroaching on more and more tasks, relentlessly becoming more capable with the passing of time. Take the economic historian, Robert Gordon, famed for his technological skepticism. In the last few years, there has been much heated discussion about his major work, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, in which he argues that our best technological times are behind us. (Or, as the economist Paul Krugman put it, “the future isn’t what it used to be.”)75 Gordon believes that the low-hanging fruits on the tree of economic growth have already been picked.

Data is from a search of the CB Insights database of earnings calls at https://www.cbinsights.com/. Similar searches are done in “On Earnings Calls, Big Data Is Out. Execs Have AI on the Brain,” CB Insights, 30 November 2017; Bass, “Non-tech Businesses.” 75.  Paul Krugman, “Paul Krugman Reviews ‘The Rise and Fall of American Growth’ by Robert J. Gordon,” New York Times, 25 January 2016. 76.  Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2017). 77.  In eighty-seven years’ time because 100 × 1.00887 = 200.01, to two decimal places. If the United States were to return to the 2.41 percent growth rate, the same doubling of wealth would take just twenty-nine years: 100 × 1.024129 = 199.50. Thomas Piketty makes a similar point in Capital in the Twenty-First Century (London: Harvard University Press, 2014), p. 5, noting that “the right way to look at the problem is once again in generational terms.


pages: 401 words: 109,892

The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets by Thomas Philippon

airline deregulation, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, business process, buy and hold, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, central bank independence, commoditize, crack epidemic, cross-subsidies, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, gig economy, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, intangible asset, inventory management, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, law of one price, liquidity trap, low cost airline, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, moral hazard, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, price discrimination, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the payments system, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Vilfredo Pareto, zero-sum game

EDWIN R. FISHER, PROFESSOR OF PATHOLOGY, ADDRESSING A SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN 1978 If economists are to be of any use to society—a big “if,” some critics might add—then at the very least they should be able to challenge common wisdom, to take a contrarian perspective, and to avoid repeating what everyone else is saying. This is what I find so remarkably refreshing in Robert Gordon’s The Rise and Fall of American Growth. Contrary to the techno-optimists arguing that innovation has never been faster, Bob argues that our current wave of innovation is not nearly as transformative as previous waves have been. Bob may or may not be right, but he is willing to think coherently about a topic and base his conclusions on data and logic instead of anecdotes and preconceived ideas.

In other words, it measures how we can expand output for given levels of capital and labor inputs. Economic theory shows that this kind of technological progress is the only sustainable source of growth in the long run. The slowdown in TFP growth started in 2000 and is now widespread among rich countries. The Great Recession of 2008–2009 has probably reinforced this negative trend, but it has not created it (Cette, Fernald, and Mojon, 2016). Robert Gordon, an economist at Northwestern University, argues that the remarkable growth in productivity from 1870 to 1970 is unlikely to repeat itself. The benefits of the Second Industrial Revolution, associated with electricity and the internal combustion engine, were deep and wide. In his view, computers and communication technologies are simply less important. Of course, it’s not as if people are standing idle instead of working hard.


EuroTragedy: A Drama in Nine Acts by Ashoka Mody

"Robert Solow", Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, book scanning, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, centre right, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, global supply chain, global value chain, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, inflation targeting, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, loadsamoney, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, low-wage service sector, Mikhail Gorbachev, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, neoliberal agenda, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open borders, pension reform, premature optimization, price stability, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, Silicon Valley, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, working-age population, Yogi Berra

High-​tech sectors—​computer hardware and software, pharmaceuticals, and biotech—​were booming, and the stock market was buoyant. In contrast, European productivity was growing slowly, well below the pace in the United States.21 This US-​Europe productivity growth difference reflected the fact that although both had been in the economic doldrums for much of the 1970s and 1980s, the American economy had reinvented itself and the European economy had not. The new “American dominance,” Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon wrote, arose in large part from “the fruitful collaboration of government research funding, world-​leading private universities, innovative private firms, and a dynamic capital market.”22 Europe had nothing comparable to offer. The new European Central Bank, in its inaugural Monthly Bulletin in January 1999, highlighted serious impediments to growth in the eurozone and began what would be a ritualistic call on national governments to schröder asserts the german national interest 127 undertake “necessary structural reforms to increase the flexibility and efficiency of markets.”23 In March 1999, the IMF completed the first of its planned twice-a-year assessments of the eurozone economy.

(Return on equity, percent) Source: Bankscope. 168   e u r o t r a g e d y briefly, in 2006 and 2007, when the leverage ratio of eurozone banks reached dangerous heights, did investors in eurozone banks earn high equity returns. With Productivity Growth Stalled, Impatient Banks Take New Risks The problem was that while the euro gave new impetus to the eurozone’s banks, it did little to boost productivity growth, which remained weak. As Northwestern University’s Robert Gordon noted, Europe was “left at the station when America’s productivity locomotive departed.”54 Between 1995 and the early 2000s, US companies employed more workers and used technical advances to make them more productive.55 But European businesses missed that window.56 Even German and French productivity had failed to keep pace with US progress; Italy and Spain performed even worse (figure 4.6).

Breakthroughs in biotechnology and information-​communications technologies and in the production and delivery of renewable energy could revolutionize economic and social structures worldwide. Such breakthroughs could sweep away the eurozone’s—​indeed, the world’s—​economic and financial stresses, until, that is, human beings mess things up again. But the promised tantalizing breakthroughs have not yet come. Robert Gordon, economics professor at Northwestern University, has long been pessimistic that such breakthroughs will come anytime soon. In an exhaustive study, he has argued that modern technologies, despite their continual promise, will not match the technological advances achieved in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.11 Those earlier transformative advances included the development and spread of electricity, telephony and other 442   e u r o t r a g e d y communications technologies, the internal combustion engine, running water and sanitation, and chemicals, plastics, antibiotics, and other modern medicines.


pages: 133 words: 36,528

Peak Car: The Future of Travel by David Metz

autonomous vehicles, bike sharing scheme, Clayton Christensen, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, disruptive innovation, edge city, Edward Glaeser, Just-in-time delivery, low cost airline, Network effects, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, Skype, urban sprawl, yield management, young professional

I have proposed that it is this high level of access, choice and opportunities that accounts for the cessation of growth of personal daily travel that is observed in developed countries. A complementary influence is the difficulty of devising technologies that would allow us to travel even faster at acceptable cost, safety and environmental impact. We seem to have reached the end of an era of technological advance. This is not unique to transport. Robert Gordon, a US economist, argues that there have been three industrial revolutions: the first created steam engines, cotton spinning and the railways; the second, electricity, the internal combustion engine and modern water supply. Both these required about one hundred years to percolate through the economy. The third, the computer and Internet revolution, began around 1960 and may have already had its main impact on productivity through displacing repetitive clerical work.


pages: 121 words: 36,908

Four Futures: Life After Capitalism by Peter Frase

Airbnb, basic income, bitcoin, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, fixed income, full employment, future of work, high net worth, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), iterative process, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, litecoin, mass incarceration, means of production, Occupy movement, pattern recognition, peak oil, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-work, postindustrial economy, price mechanism, private military company, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart meter, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, Thomas Malthus, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck

In the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that from 2007 to 2014, the annual rate of change was only 1.4 percent. That’s a pace lower than at any time since the 1970s and half what was seen during the postwar boom years. This leads some to argue that the anecdotal accounts of great breakthroughs in robotics and computation are misleading, because they aren’t actually being translated into economic results. The economists Tyler Cowen and Robert Gordon are most closely associated with this view.15 Doug Henwood, of the Left Business Observer, makes a similar case from the Left.16 For more conservative economists like Cowen and Gordon, the problem is largely technical. The new technologies aren’t really all that great, at least from an economic perspective, compared to breakthroughs like electricity or the internal combustion engine. We’ve picked the “low-hanging fruit,” in Cowen’s terms, and unless we find some more we’re doomed to slow growth for the foreseeable future.


pages: 437 words: 115,594

The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World by Steven Radelet

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Asian financial crisis, bank run, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, business climate, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, colonial rule, creative destruction, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, global supply chain, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, off grid, oil shock, out of africa, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, special economic zone, standardized shipping container, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, women in the workforce, working poor

Global investment and aggregate demand have remained tepid despite low interest rates. Summers does not argue that secular stagnation in the advanced economies is inevitable but that it could become the reality if policy makers do not take steps to heighten demand such as increasing public investment in infrastructure and changing regulations to spur private investment in alternative energy sources.2 Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon sees other forces working to slow long-term growth in the United States. One is simple demographics: the baby boomers are retiring, so the labor force is growing more slowly than the number of retirees, a dynamic that is not going to change anytime soon. He also points to the plateauing of mass education (and therefore less growth in skills), rising inequality, and soaring public debt as forces slowing growth.

Joshua Kurlantzick gives an excellent account of political changes in Thailand in Democracy in Retreat: The Revolt of the Middle Class and the Worldwide Decline of Representative Government (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2013), and my narrative follows his. The quote from James Kelly comes from his speech “U.S.-Thai Relations After September 11, 2001,” to the Asia Foundation in Bangkok on March 13, 2002, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/sept11/kelly_002.asp. 2. For a series of articles in which Summers lays out his views on secular stagnation, see his webpage: http://larrysummers.com/secular-stagnation. 3. See also Robert Gordon, “Is U.S. Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds,” working paper 18315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, August 2012, www.nber.org/papers/w18315.pdf. 4. Press Information Bureau, Government of India, Prime Minister’s Office, “Sixth BRICS Summit—Fortaleza Declaration,” July 16, 2014, paragraphs 5 and 18, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?


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Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles by Ruchir Sharma

3D printing, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, American energy revolution, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, cloud computing, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, eurozone crisis, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, housing crisis, income inequality, indoor plumbing, inflation targeting, informal economy, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land reform, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, mass immigration, megacity, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Nelson Mandela, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, The Great Moderation, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population, zero-sum game

Fracking technology took off in the United States because it took advantage of the country’s long-standing strengths, including strong property rights and ready financing for promising entrepreneurial ventures. At its core, the American energy revolution is a technology revolution. The Technology Edge Today, an interesting debate is under way over whether the digital technology revolution is really a big deal in terms of improving U.S. productivity. Leading skeptics about America’s productivity boom, such as Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon, say the computer and the Internet, even when rendered mobile in handheld devices, do less to raise productivity than inventions from previous technology revolutions—particularly the emergence in the late nineteenth century of electricity, the combustion engine, and indoor plumbing. The technology bulls say we haven’t seen anything yet. Everyone knows that today’s PCs are faster than machines that three decades ago would fill a warehouse.

The stagnation of middle-class wages in the United States is in part a function of the fact that U.S. companies (and unions too) have been faster than their rivals to accept the need to reduce wages, or to institute two-tier pay scales that start new workers at lower wages. The resulting increase in productivity is driving up the profitably of large companies and the wealth of the richest Americans. Robert Gordon figures that between 1993 and 2008, real incomes in the United States rose by an annual average of 1.3 percent, but more than half of those gains went to the richest 1 percent of households. It’s tough to make an economy more competitive and more fair at the same time. Judged by my rules on how to read the billionaire lists, however, the United States does not rank too badly in terms of the economic impact of inequality.


pages: 358 words: 119,272

Anatomy of the Bear: Lessons From Wall Street's Four Great Bottoms by Russell Napier

Albert Einstein, asset allocation, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, collective bargaining, Columbine, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, diversified portfolio, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, hindsight bias, Kickstarter, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, new economy, oil shock, price stability, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, short selling, stocks for the long run, yield curve, Yogi Berra

One can refer to monetary and price adjustments in the period with a high degree of certainty, but the alteration in the size of the economy is subject to greater uncertainty. The first published gross domestic product (GDP) statistics prepared by the US Department of Commerce relate to 1929. Prior to 1929, there are only estimates by economic historians of the growth in the US economy. FIGURE 7. ANNUAL PERCENTAGE CHANGE IN GDP Source: Nathan Balke and Robert Gordon, The Estimation of Pre-war GNP: Methodology and New Evidence. NBER Working Papers 2674 While real economic growth had been strong from the end of 1914 to the end of 1919, much of that growth is accounted for by the boom year of 1916, when the war in Europe was demanding greater resources and neutral US helped provide them. Real growth of the economy in 1916 accounts for 70% of the total real growth in the five years 1915 to 1919.

Bibliography In my research for this book, I have mined an extensive personal library and consulted colleagues and friends on useful source material that would lead to a better understanding of the nature of bear markets. This bibliography, by no means exhaustive, covers material directly related to that search. Publisher, edition and date of publication relate to the particular copy I had to hand, and web addresses refer to the home pages from where to find relevant data. Bruce Barton, The Man Nobody Knows (Bobbs-Merrill, 1962) Nathan Balke and Robert Gordon, The Estimation of Pre-war GNP: Methodology and New Evidence (NBER Working Papers 2674) Paul F. Boller, Jr., Presidential Campaigns (Oxford University Press, 1984) Linda Holman Bentley and Jennifer J. Kiesl, Investment Statistics Locator (Oryx Press, 1995) Peter L. Bernstein, Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street (The Free Press, 1992) Warren Buffett, How Inflation Swindles the Equity Investor (Fortune, May 1977) Harold Borger, Outlay and Income in the United States 1921-1938 (National Bureau of Economic Research, 1942) John Brooks, Once in Golconda: A True Drama of Wall Street 1920-1938 (Harper & Row, 1969) John Brooks, The Go-Go Years: The Drama and Crashing Finale of Wall Street’s Bullish 60s (John Wiley & Sons, 1999) Hugh Bullock, The Story of Investment Companies (Columbia University Press, 1959) H.


pages: 131 words: 41,052

Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century by Mark Leonard

Berlin Wall, Celtic Tiger, continuous integration, cuban missile crisis, different worldview, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, global reserve currency, invisible hand, knowledge economy, mass immigration, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, one-China policy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pension reform, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, shareholder value, South China Sea, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, Washington Consensus

And a Europe with fifty members will be an even more serious economic player than the Euro-25.27 The Stockholm Consensus vs. the American Business Model But the success of an economic model goes beyond the size of GDP: it depends on its ability to attract others and through that to set the rules for the global economy. The real costs of the American economic model are becoming ever clearer. Professor Robert Gordon of North-western University shows that the size of the American GDP hides the fact that much of it is going into unproductive things: Cars rather than public transport: for example, Americans must buy cars because public transport is so lousy. The value of the cars is calculated in American GDP, but European public-transport systems are counted not at their value to passengers but as a cost to government.


pages: 386 words: 122,595

Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (Fully Revised and Updated) by Charles Wheelan

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, capital controls, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, congestion charging, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, demographic transition, diversified portfolio, Doha Development Round, Exxon Valdez, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, index fund, interest rate swap, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, Malacca Straits, market bubble, microcredit, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, new economy, open economy, presumed consent, price discrimination, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the rule of 72, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, Yogi Berra, young professional, zero-sum game

(Or we could make the same amount of stuff with 2 percent fewer inputs.) One of the most interesting debates in economics is whether or not the American economy has undergone a sharp increase in the rate of productivity growth. Some economists, including Alan Greenspan during his tenure as Fed chairman, have argued that investments in information technology have led to permanently higher rates of productivity growth. Others, such as Robert Gordon at Northwestern University, believe that productivity growth has not changed significantly when one interprets the data properly. The answer to that debate matters enormously. From 1947 to 1975, productivity grew at an annual rate of 2.7 percent a year. From 1975 until the mid-1990s, for reasons that are still not fully understood, productivity growth slowed to 1.4 percent a year. Then it got better again; from 2000 to 2008, productivity growth returned to a much healthier 2.5 percent annually.

Jason Hill, Erik Nelson, David Tilman, Stephen Polasky, and Douglas Tiffany, “Environmental, Economic, and Energetic Costs and Benefits of Biodiesel and Ethanol Biofuels,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 103, no. 30 (July 25, 2006). 3. Nicholas Kristof, “Ethanol, for All Its Critics, Fuels Farmer Support and Iowa’s Role in Presidential Races,” New York Times, January 21, 2000. 4. Robert Gordon, Thomas Kane, and Douglas O. Staiger, “Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job,” The Hamilton Project Policy Brief No. 2006–01, April 2006. 5. Roger Ferguson, Jr., “Economic Policy for Our Era: The Ohio Experience,” Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, May 15, 2000. 6. Joe Klein, “Eight Years: Bill Clinton Looks Back on His Presidency,” The New Yorker, October 16, 2000, p. 201. 7.


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The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution by Charles R. Morris

air freight, American ideology, British Empire, business process, California gold rush, clean water, colonial exploitation, computer age, Dava Sobel, en.wikipedia.org, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, if you build it, they will come, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, lone genius, manufacturing employment, new economy, New Urbanism, old age dependency ratio, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, refrigerator car, Robert Gordon, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, undersea cable

The Significance of Armory Practice The achievement of Hall and North in manufacturing rifles with fully interchangeable precision parts was a signal milestone toward the final realization of the Wadsworth-Bomford-Lee program of “Uniformity” laid down twenty years before. By about mid-century, practical interchangeability became a fact for virtually all military muskets produced by the armories and private contractors. But legend to the contrary, machines by themselves were still far from being able to consistently achieve such tolerances. A series of microscopic analyses by Robert Gordon showed that precision fitting of firing action components required improvements in hand-finishing at least as great as those in machining. And until very recent times, it was rarely cost effective to attempt to replace all hand-finishing with machinery. The achievement of armory practice and high-precision interchangeability, therefore, was the creation of an integrated process of specification, measurement, work flow, and the highest-quality standards in both machining and hand work.87 The value of mass production processes was proven in the crucible of the Civil War.

The trip-hammer had been around a long time, so Waters appears to have patented the application to barrel welding, rather than the tool. am The frame arrangement described here was used for gun stocks. The original patent application shows a shoe last, a more compact shape, and is arranged differently. The application identified a variety of possible arrangements for different product types. an As Robert Gordon has pointed out, interpreting such results is uncertain without knowing all the context of the tests, the target audiences, and hidden agendas. Note the wide variance between this report and the one at West Point. ao Hall hypothesized a man cutting a plate exactly square. Normally he would “Square the 2d side by the 1st, and the 3d. by the 2d., and the 4th by the 3rd., but on comparing the 4th side with the 1st, it would still be found that they are not square; the cause is that in squaring each side by the preceding side, there is a slight but imperceptible variation and the comparison of the 4th with the 1st gives the sum of the variations of each side from a true square.


pages: 402 words: 126,835

The Job: The Future of Work in the Modern Era by Ellen Ruppel Shell

3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, big-box store, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, follow your passion, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, game design, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban renewal, white picket fence, working poor, Y Combinator, young professional, zero-sum game

From this and similar historical examples, it has long been argued that a temporary decline in what William Morris called “worthy work” is to be expected, collateral damage in a process by which over the long term technology creates more and better jobs. Yet while innovations of the industrial age often resulted in significant job creation, it’s far from certain the same can be said of the digital age. Indeed, some experts argue that automation and digitalization are more likely to be linked to a general decline in job creation. Economist Robert Gordon, for one, points out that as electronic data becomes cost-free, its marginal benefit in terms of labor creation approaches zero. Facebook and other information providers rely on customers to create content—all those messages, photos, videos, comments, likes, and pokes generate plenty of revenue for Facebook and its investors without necessarily creating many jobs. Indeed, despite their staggering market caps, no American Internet information provider has come close to providing the 443,000 American jobs (many of them union jobs) directly supported by Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain.

linked to a general decline in job creation In a 2014 poll of leading academic economists conducted by the Chicago Initiative on Global Markets on the impact of technology on employment and earnings, 43 percent agreed that “information technology and automation are a central reason why median wages have been stagnant in the US over the past decade, despite rising productivity,” while only 28 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed. “Robots,” IGM Forum, February 25, 2014, http://www.igmchicago.org/​surveys/​robots. its marginal benefit in terms of labor creation approaches zero Robert Gordon, “Is U.S. Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds” (NBER Working Paper No. 18315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, August 2012), http://www.nber.org/​papers/​w18315. “beating out less-educated workers for barista and clerical jobs” Paul Beaudry, David Green, and Benjamin Sand, “The Great Reversal in the Demand for Skill and Cognitive Tasks” (NBER Working Paper No. 18901, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, March 2013), http://dx.doi.org/​doi:10.3386/​w18901.


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Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the Seventies by Judith Stein

"Robert Solow", 1960s counterculture, activist lawyer, affirmative action, airline deregulation, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, desegregation, energy security, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial deregulation, floating exchange rates, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, income per capita, intermodal, invisible hand, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, liberal capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Martin Wolf, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, post-industrial society, post-oil, price mechanism, price stability, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, strikebreaker, trade liberalization, union organizing, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, working poor, Yom Kippur War

State planning had a history in the infrastructure industries—communications, transportation, and energy. Most others—steel, auto, computers, food processing—functioned without government direction or mandate. Because Keynesians lacked answers to the ailing food, oil, and manufacturing sectors, the planners earned a hearing. In his presidential address to the American Economic Association in 1976, Robert Gordon, one of Keynes’s high priests, acknowledged that “we economists pay too little attention to the changing institutional environment that conditions economic behavior…. We shy away from the big questions about how and why the institutional structure is changing—and where it is taking us.”80The Humphrey-Javits bill proposed to examine environments and create an Office of National Economic Planning to oversee the traditionally regulated and the unregulated parts of the economy—both infrastructure and production.

This pattern continued up to the present, except for the years from 1995–2000, when the lowest fifth outpaced the top fifth. Still, even in the second half of the Clinton presidency, the top 5 percent did better than everyone else. Lawrence Mishel, Jared Bernstein, and Sylvia Allegretto, The State of Working America, 2006–2007 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2006), 58; Ian Dew-Becker and Robert Gordon, “Where Did the Productivity Growth Go?” paper presented at the Eighty-First Meeting of the Brookings Panel on Economic Activity, Washington D.C., Sept. 8–9, 2005, 72. 14. Economist (Oct. 4–11, 2008), 11. 15. Robert W. Stevenson, “Capitalism After the Fall,” Week in Review, New York Times, Apr. 19, 2009. CHAPTER 1. “THE GREAT COMPRESSION” 1. Lawrence Mishel, Jared Bernstein, and Sylvia Allegretto, The State of Working America, 2006–2007 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2006), 55. 2.


pages: 431 words: 129,071

Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It's Doing to Us by Will Storr

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, bitcoin, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, gig economy, greed is good, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, Lyft, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, Mother of all demos, Nixon shock, Peter Thiel, QWERTY keyboard, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, twin studies, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

The GI Bill gave millions of working-class war veterans a college education paid for by the state, a big-government act that would do immeasurable good. It was partly due to policies such as these that, between 1929 and 1945, lower incomes would grow faster than higher and, for the next twenty-five years, wages grew at about the same rate for everyone, rich or poor. This Great Compression led to ‘a golden age for millions of high school graduates’, writes the economist Professor Robert Gordon, ‘who without a college education could work steadily at a unionized job and make a high enough income to afford a suburban house with a backyard, one or two cars and a life style of which median-income earners in most other countries could only dream.’ Encouraging this new collective spirit was the rise of industrial automation. Farm workers moved in huge numbers to the towns and cities. There, they no longer lived side-by-side with relatives and old acquaintances but with strangers, on whom you had to make a good impression.

The GI Bill: The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The US Standard of Living Since the Civil War, Robert J. Gordon (Princeton University Press, 2016), p. 606. between 1929 and 1945, lower incomes would grow faster: The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The US Standard of Living Since the Civil War, Robert J. Gordon (Princeton University Press, 2016), p. 613. ‘a golden age for millions of high school graduates’, writes the economist Professor Robert Gordon, ‘who without a college education . . .’: The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The US Standard of Living Since the Civil War, Robert J. Gordon (Princeton University Press, 2016), p. 609. It was around this time, as Susan Cain has famously documented, that the provost of Harvard University: Quiet, Susan Cain (Penguin, 2013), p. 127. ‘If we are our own chief problem, the basic reason must be found in the type of thoughts’: Quoted in Smile or Die, Barbara Ehrenreich (Granta, 2010), p. 92.


pages: 459 words: 138,689

Slowdown: The End of the Great Acceleration―and Why It’s Good for the Planet, the Economy, and Our Lives by Danny Dorling, Kirsten McClure

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, clean water, creative destruction, credit crunch, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Henri Poincaré, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, jimmy wales, John Harrison: Longitude, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage debt, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, rent control, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, sexual politics, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, structural adjustment programs, the built environment, Tim Cook: Apple, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, very high income, wealth creators, wikimedia commons, working poor

Americans would each be far better off with better health care, funded by that $1,400 per family per year, to be used by any individual who fell ill. If you become seriously ill, then the amount spent on you will far exceed $1,400 a year, and if you don’t, you are very lucky. A lot can and must change with slowdown. THE TECHNOLOGICAL MIRAGE We now lament that the technological innovations that will make the greatest changes to our lives have already been made. As Robert Gordon made clear in 2012: “The frontier established by the US for output per capita, and the UK before it, gradually began to grow more rapidly after 1750, reached its fastest growth rate in the middle of the 20th century, and has slowed down since. It is in the process of slowing down further.”13 He did not notice or mention it, but innovation is also not speeding up elsewhere. Everywhere, innovation is now slowing.

Engels, preface to the third German edition of Das Kapital (1867), p. 17 of the most popular public domain edition: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Capital-Volume-I.pdf. 12. Isabel Sawhill and Christopher Pulliam, Six Facts about Wealth in the United States, Middle Class Memo Series, Brooking Institute, 25 June 2019, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2019/06/25/six-facts-about-wealth-in-the-united-states/. 13. Robert Gordon, “Is US Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds,” Centre for Economic Research Policy Insight, no. 6 (September 2012), https://cepr.org/sites/default/files/policy_insights/PolicyInsight63.pdf. 14. Danny Dorling, Do We Need Economic Inequality? (Cambridge: Polity, 2018), 130 (figure 8.1), http://www.dannydorling.org/books/economicinequality/figures-and-tables/figure-8-1.html. 15.


pages: 517 words: 139,477

Stocks for the Long Run 5/E: the Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long-Term Investment Strategies by Jeremy Siegel

Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, backtesting, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, break the buck, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, buy low sell high, California gold rush, capital asset pricing model, carried interest, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, compound rate of return, computer age, computerized trading, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, dividend-yielding stocks, dogs of the Dow, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, fundamental attribution error, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, income inequality, index arbitrage, index fund, indoor plumbing, inflation targeting, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, money market fund, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, Northern Rock, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vanguard fund

But productivity growth in the developed countries must rely on innovation and invention since these economies are already operating at the frontier of technological know-how. Historically, productivity in the developed world has increased at a remarkably steady 2 to 2½ percent per year, which means that every 35 years the standard of living doubles.11 But some economists, such a Professor Robert Gordon of Northwestern University, believe that productivity growth is due to fall dramatically in the United States.12 He cites the aging of the population, growing income inequality, and faltering educational achievement, among others factors, as the reasons for the decline. Except for the top 1 percent of the income distribution, Gordon predicts the vast majority of the U.S. population will experience growth of only 0.5 percent per year, less than one-quarter the long-term average.

Sales Overseas with Export Financing,” Trade and Industry Development, February 29, 2012, http://www.tradeandindustrydev.com/Industry/Manufacturing/expanding-us-sales-overseas-export-financing-6169. 10. In the United States, productivity is defined as output per hour worked, although in Europe it is often defined as output per worker. 11. Productivity growth was slightly higher immediately following World War II, but since 1960, productivity growth in the United States has shown no significant downward trend. 12. Robert Gordon, “Is U.S. Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts Six Headwinds,” NBER #18315, August 2012. For a rejoinder, see the response by John Cochrane of the University of Chicago in his blog at http://johnhcochrane.blogspot.com/2012/08/gordon-on-growth.html. 13. Tyler Cowen, The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better, New York: Dutton Adult, 2011. 14.


End the Fed by Ron Paul

affirmative action, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, business cycle, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, fiat currency, Fractional reserve banking, hiring and firing, housing crisis, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Khyber Pass, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, means of production, moral hazard, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, too big to fail, tulip mania, Y2K

And where do you criticize them and say that we can’t accept anything that they say? My second question deals with productivity. There are various groups that have said that our statistics are off. Estevao and Lach claim, and this was written up in the St. Louis Fed pamphlet, that the temps aren’t considered and that distorts the views. Stephen Roach at Morgan Stanley said we don’t take into consideration overtime. Robert Gordon of Northwestern University says that 99 percent of the productivity benefits were in the computer industry and had very little to do with the general economy, and therefore, we should not be anxious to reassure ourselves that the productive increases will protect us from future corrections that could be rather serious. ALAN GREENSPAN: Well, I will be glad to give you a long academic discussion on the Austrian school and its implications with respect to modern views of how the economy works having actually attended a seminar of Ludwig Mises, when he was probably ninety, and I was a very small fraction of that.


pages: 524 words: 143,993

The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned--And Have Still to Learn--From the Financial Crisis by Martin Wolf

air freight, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, bonus culture, break the buck, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, debt deflation, deglobalization, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial repression, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global rebalancing, global reserve currency, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, light touch regulation, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandatory minimum, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market fragmentation, Martin Wolf, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, open economy, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price stability, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, Real Time Gross Settlement, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, very high income, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

Moreover, age-related public spending on health and pensions also seems bound to rise in most high-income economies over the next few decades unless there are extraordinary medical innovations or the rest of the population refuses to pay.33 With the labour force growing more slowly than previously, or even shrinking, growth is bound to slow, other things being equal. But the other component of economic growth – rising productivity – is even more important than demography in determining the rate of growth over the long run. It is also the principal determinant of incomes per head. Nobody knows what will happen to productivity over the coming decades, but some well-informed people have put forward reasonable arguments that it must slow. Among these are Robert Gordon of Northwestern University and Tyler Cowen of George Mason University.34 An important reason why the pace of innovation might be slowing is that many opportunities have already been exploited: the population of the high-income countries is already highly educated and highly urbanized; the economy has already exploited the most readily available natural resources; people have already enjoyed the fruit of many life- and economy-transforming innovations, such as running water and sanitation, inoculation, electricity, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, the internal combustion engine, civil aviation, telephony, the computer and the internet.

Stephen King, chief economist of HSBC, has written a book with these characteristics: When the Money Runs Out: The End of Western Affluence (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2013). 32. See Robert Arnott and Denis Chaves, ‘A New “New Normal” in Demography and Economic Growth’, 27 August 2013, http://www.indexuniverse.com/docs/magazine/2/2013_229.pdf. 33. See International Monetary Fund, Fiscal Adjustment in an Uncertain World, Fiscal Monitor, April 2013, Fig. 2, p. 6. 34. See Robert Gordon, ‘Is U. S. Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds’, National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 18315, August 2012, www.nber.org; TylerCowen, The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better (London: Dutton/Penguin, 2011). 35. Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (New York and London: W.


pages: 497 words: 150,205

European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics Are in a Mess - and How to Put Them Right by Philippe Legrain

3D printing, Airbnb, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, centre right, cleantech, collaborative consumption, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, debt deflation, Diane Coyle, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, eurozone crisis, fear of failure, financial deregulation, first-past-the-post, forward guidance, full employment, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, hiring and firing, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, interest rate derivative, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Irish property bubble, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, liquidity trap, margin call, Martin Wolf, mittelstand, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, peer-to-peer rental, price stability, private sector deleveraging, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, Richard Florida, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, savings glut, school vouchers, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, working-age population, Zipcar

Now he wants to build a Hyperloop – basically a solar-powered maglev train in a vacuum tube that would whisk passengers along at 760 miles (1,220 kilometres) an hour, three times faster than a high-speed train, and cost ten times less to build.705 Gloomsters argue that technological progress is grinding to a halt. The low-hanging fruit have all been picked, argues Tyler Cowen in The Great Stagnation.706 Nothing can ever compare to the great leap forward ushered in by electricity and other advances during the second wave of the Industrial Revolution between 1870 and 1900, such as cars, running water, petroleum and chemicals, claims Robert Gordon of Northwestern University.707 “Many of the original and spin-off inventions of IR #2 could happen only once – urbanisation, transportation speed, the freedom of females from the drudgery of carrying tons of water per year, and the role of central heating and air conditioning in achieving a year-round constant temperature.” Yet he is wrong to dismiss the importance of exponentially increasing computing power, communications (through both the wired and the mobile internet) and data gathering (“big data”) – and many previous advances since 1900.

Just think how much faster and further humanity could progress if Africa emulated China’s success, if women were liberated in the Arab world, if people were set free to live and work wherever they want, if Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial magic cast its spell on Europe, and if every young person got a fair start in life. Knowledge is cumulative: by standing on the shoulders of giants we can reach ever-higher branches. Each invention also creates new demands, argues Jan Mokyr, an optimistic counterpoint to Robert Gordon at Northwestern University.709 Antibiotics have given us a new lease of life, but as bacteria become resistant, we need to develop new ones. Using nitrates as fertilisers helped us feed billions but their overuse pollutes the water; perhaps the solution will be genetic engineering to enable plants to fix more of their own nitrates or bacteria that convert nitrates into nitrogen at more efficient rates.


pages: 519 words: 155,332

Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America's Fifty-Year Fall--And Those Fighting to Reverse It by Steven Brill

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, failed state, financial deregulation, financial innovation, future of work, ghettoisation, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, immigration reform, income inequality, invention of radio, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, old-boy network, paper trading, performance metric, post-work, Potemkin village, Powell Memorandum, quantitative hedge fund, Ralph Nader, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, telemarketer, too big to fail, trade liberalization, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor

Of those “66 most successful lawyers,” Reuters found, “51 worked for law firms that primarily represented corporate interests,” and “in cases pitting the interests of customers, employees or other individuals against those of companies, a leading attorney was three times more likely to launch an appeal for business than for an individual.” Writing in the Boston University Law Review in 1988, Stanford law professor Robert Gordon described that growing meritocratic arms race as a development akin to the fall of Western civilization: “The decision by Cravath, Swaine and Moore to inflate the salaries of first-year associates, a move instantly imitated by other New York firms and later by firms in other cities, has been one of the most anti-social acts of the bar in recent history,” he wrote. “It further devalues public service by widening the gulf—until recently not very large—between starting salaries in private practice and in government and public interest law.

At another top law school: Columbia Law School employment summary for 2015 graduates, available here: http://www.law.columbia.edu/​sites/​default/​files/​microsites/​careers/​files/​2015_aba_employment_summary.pdf. “66 of the 17,000 lawyers”: Joan Biskupic, Janet Roberts, and John Shiffman, “The Echo Chamber,” Reuters, December 8, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/​investigates/​special-report/​scotus/. Stanford law professor Robert Gordon: Robert W. Gordon, “The Independence of Lawyers,” Boston University Law Review 68 (1988), http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/​fss_papers/​1361. “The results for these kids” and subsequent quotes: Interviews with Marx. about 8 percent: Ibid. Amos Hostetter, Jr.: This assessment of his reputation is based on my own experience in the cable industry. overall enrollment from 1,600 to 1,800: Marx interviews.


pages: 524 words: 155,947

More: The 10,000-Year Rise of the World Economy by Philip Coggan

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airline deregulation, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, Columbine, Corn Laws, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency peg, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, germ theory of disease, German hyperinflation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global value chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haber-Bosch Process, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, hydraulic fracturing, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflation targeting, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kenneth Arrow, Kula ring, labour market flexibility, land reform, land tenure, Lao Tzu, large denomination, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Blériot, low cost airline, low skilled workers, lump of labour, M-Pesa, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mittelstand, moral hazard, Murano, Venice glass, Myron Scholes, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, popular capitalism, popular electronics, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Nader, regulatory arbitrage, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special drawing rights, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, TaskRabbit, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, V2 rocket, Veblen good, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

Why, given such advances, is overall economic productivity growing so slowly? Between 1891 and 1972, US productivity (measured as output per hour) improved at an average annual rate of 2.36%. That helps explain why America became so wealthy. After 1972, the improvement slowed to 1.38%. For a brief period between 1996 and 2004, there was another surge to 2.54%. This was the time of the dotcom boom. But after 2004, the rate slowed right back again.18 Robert Gordon, an economist, argues that the latest wave of innovation is more limited than the first, steam-based, industrial revolution, or the second, based on electric power and cars. The new wave has been based on entertainment, information and communications.19 Other changes have been much more limited. Cars may have many more gadgets and comforts than they did in the 1970s, but congestion means that people do not travel any faster; the average speed of traffic in central London in 2015 was 7.4mph, on a par with a horse-drawn carriage in the 18th century.20 Aeroplane travel is cheaper than it used to be, but less comfortable (legroom is restricted), and the experiment with supersonic flight was abandoned.

Christopher Tassava, “The American economy during World War II”, Economic History Association, https://eh.net/encyclopedia/the-american-economy-during-world-war-ii/ 97. Claudia Goldin, “The role of World War II in the rise of women’s work”, NBER working paper 3203, https://www.nber.org/papers/w3203.pdf 98. Smil, Energy and Civilisation, op. cit. 99. Alan L. Olmstead and Paul W. Rhode, “The diffusion of the tractor in American agriculture 1910–1960”, NBER working paper 7947, www.nber.org/papers/w7947 100. Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The US Standard of Living Since the Civil War 101. Barbara Krasner-Khait, “The impact of refrigeration”, History Magazine, https://www.history-magazine.com/refrig.html 102. Frieden, Global Capitalism, op. cit. 103. St Clair, The Golden Thread, op. cit. 104. Michael Huberman, “Labor movements”, The Cambridge History of Capitalism, Volume 2, op. cit. 105.


pages: 221 words: 55,901

The Globalization of Inequality by François Bourguignon

Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Doha Development Round, Edward Glaeser, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial intermediation, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, income inequality, income per capita, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, minimum wage unemployment, offshore financial centre, open economy, Pareto efficiency, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Robert Gordon, Simon Kuznets, structural adjustment programs, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, very high income, Washington Consensus

Even if it were possible to avert a new financial crisis or a new recession in the years to come, which is not certain, growth in these economies will remain constrained by debt reduction and, more important, by structural changes imposed by the continuing slow process of deindustrialization. Some economists also predict a slowing down in the rate of technological progress which they believe may last for some time.2 On the other hand, even if some of them are partially affected by the slowed growth of rich countries, the emerging economies often have large domestic markets that offer Acemoglu et al., “Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth.” 2 See, for instance, Robert Gordon, “Is US Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds,” Working Paper 18315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, 2012. 1 Globalization and Costly Inequality121 substantial and autonomous opportunities for growth. China’s current attempt to reorient its development toward domestic demand is a good example of this. In addition, the rapid development of South-­South trade could, with some adjustments, be a substitute for the role played by demand from developed countries.


pages: 561 words: 157,589

WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us by Tim O'Reilly

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, deskilling, DevOps, Donald Davies, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, glass ceiling, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, gravity well, greed is good, Guido van Rossum, High speed trading, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyperloop, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lao Tzu, Larry Wall, Lean Startup, Leonard Kleinrock, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, microbiome, microservices, minimum viable product, mortgage tax deduction, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Oculus Rift, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Sam Altman, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, SETI@home, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, social web, software as a service, software patent, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The Future of Employment, the map is not the territory, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, VA Linux, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, yellow journalism, zero-sum game, Zipcar

CHAPTER 14: WE DON’T HAVE TO RUN OUT OF JOBS 298 “live wisely and agreeably and well”: John Maynard Keynes, “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” in Essays in Persuasion (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1932), 358–73, available online from http://www.econ.yale.edu/smith/econ 116a/keynes1.pdf. 298 the world has been getting better: Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina, “Global Extreme Poverty,” OurWorldIn Data.org, first published in 2013; substantive revision March 27, 2017, retrieved April 4, 2017, https://ourworldindata.org/extreme-poverty/. 299 once destroyed factory jobs: Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation,” Oxford Martin Institute, September 17, 2013, http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of _Employment.pdf. 299 the age of growth is over: Robert Gordon, “The Death of Innovation, the End of Growth,” TED 2013, https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_gordon _the_death_of_innovation_the_end_of _growth. 301 something that had never been done before: Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures (New York: William Morrow, 2016). 302 well-paid human jobs: Already, in the US, 43% of the electric power generation workforce is employed in solar technologies, versus 22% of electric power generation via fossil fuels.


pages: 267 words: 71,123

End This Depression Now! by Paul Krugman

airline deregulation, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, centre right, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, debt deflation, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, German hyperinflation, Gordon Gekko, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price stability, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Upton Sinclair, We are the 99%, working poor, Works Progress Administration

That seemed to many people like a permanent state: the optimism of the early New Deal years had taken a hard blow in 1937, when the economy suffered a second severe recession. Yet within two years the economy was booming, and unemployment was plunging. What happened? The answer is that finally someone began spending enough to get the economy humming again. That “someone” was, of course, the government. The object of that spending was basically destruction rather than construction; as the economists Robert Gordon and Robert Krenn put it, in the summer of 1940 the U.S. economy went to war. Long before Pearl Harbor, military spending soared as America rushed to replace the ships and other armaments sent to Britain as part of the lend-lease program, and as army camps were quickly built to house the millions of new recruits brought in by the draft. As military spending created jobs and family incomes rose, consumer spending also picked up (it would eventually be restrained by rationing, but that came later).


pages: 257 words: 64,285

The End of Traffic and the Future of Transport: Second Edition by David Levinson, Kevin Krizek

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, Chris Urmson, collaborative consumption, commoditize, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Google Hangouts, Induced demand, intermodal, invention of the printing press, jitney, John Markoff, labor-force participation, lifelogging, Lyft, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Network effects, Occam's razor, oil shock, place-making, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, technological singularity, Tesla Model S, the built environment, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working-age population, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Asymco Blog http://www.asymco.com/2013/11/18/seeing-whats-next-2/ 108 The acceleration of technology is admittedly a contested point, with authors like Cowan, Thiel, and Gordon notably identifying the problem of economic stagnation. Cowan, Tyler (2011) The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better Thiel, Peter (2014) Zero to One. Gordon, Robert J. (2012) Why Innovation Won't Save Us http://economics.weinberg.northwestern.edu/robert-gordon/WSJ_121222.pdf 109 A kilobyte here is actually 1024 bytes, not 1000, so the conversion is not straight-forward in decimal math as it might appear, moreover while disk drives use metric definitions of kilo (=1000), memory makers use the kilo = 1024 = 210. 110 According to the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, 56% of all American adults are now smartphone adopters; one-third (35%) have some other kind of cell phone that is not a smartphone, and the remaining 9% of Americans do not own a cell phone at all, see: http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/06/05/smartphone-ownership-2013/ 111 In contrast, for 43 years of his life, Kevin was without a cell phone.


pages: 391 words: 71,600

Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella, Greg Shaw, Jill Tracie Nichols

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Amazon Web Services, anti-globalists, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bretton Woods, business process, cashless society, charter city, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, equal pay for equal work, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fault tolerance, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Mars Rover, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, NP-complete, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, place-making, Richard Feynman, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, special economic zone, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, telepresence, telerobotics, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade liberalization, two-sided market, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional, zero-sum game

It is a bias for driving investment toward technological advancements in services like LinkedIn and Office that help people create, connect, and become more productive rather than software that is simply entertaining—memes for conspicuous consumption. Spillover effects on the economy are pretty limited for technologies that don’t foster a more equitable ratio of consumption to creation. Nonetheless, Wall Street has put a lot of value recently on these consumption technologies. Robert Gordon’s recent economic treatise, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, has as its central thesis that some inventions are more important than others. I agree, and I would put today’s productivity software in that category. Gordon examines American growth between 1870 and 1940, describing a century of economic revolution that freed households from an unremitting daily grind of painful manual labor, household drudgery, darkness, isolation, and early death.


pages: 257 words: 68,143

Waiting for Superman: How We Can Save America's Failing Public Schools by Participant Media, Karl Weber

collective bargaining, feminist movement, hiring and firing, index card, knowledge economy, Menlo Park, Robert Gordon, school choice, Silicon Valley, Upton Sinclair

Note: Graduation rates are for first-time, full-time students graduating in 150 percent normal time. 10 Becky Smerdon, Barbara Means, et al., Evaluation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s High School Grants Initiative: 2001-2005 Final Report (Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research; Menlo Park, CA: SRI International, 2006). 11 Steven G. Rivkin, Eric A. Hanushek, and John F. Kain, “Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement,” Econometrica 73, no. 2 (March 2005): 417-458. 12 Robert Gordon, Thomas J. Kane, and Douglas O. Staiger, Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job (Washington, DC: Hamilton Project, Brookings Institution, 2006). 13 Stephen Newton, “Stull Evaluations and Student Performance,” Los Angeles Unified School District, http://notebook.lausd.net/pls/ptl/docs/PAGE/CA_LAUSD/FLDR_ORGANIZATIONS/FLDR_PLCY_RES_DEV/PAR_DIVISION_MAIN/RESEARCH_UNIT/PUBLICATIONS/POLICY_REPORTS/IMPACT_STULL_186.PDF. 14 Kim Marshall, “It’s Time to Rethink Teacher Supervision and Evaluation,” Phi Delta Kappan, June 2005. 15 Scholastic and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on America’s Schools (New York: Scholastic Inc., 2010). 16 Marguerite Roza, Frozen Assets: Rethinking Teacher Contracts Could Free Billions for School Reform (Washington, DC: Education Sector, 2007). 17 Valerie Russ, “Teachers, School District Approve Contract,” Philadelphia Daily News, January 23, 2010. 18 Scholastic and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Primary Sources. 19 “Rocketship Education 2009 Academic Results Highest Performing in San Jose and Santa Clara County, Tops Palo Alto Unified,” www.rsed.org/news/RSED%2009%20Results%20Release%209.16%20FINAL.doc. 20 Mike Feinberg, personal communications, 2010.


pages: 247 words: 64,986

Hive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own by Garett Jones

centre right, clean water, corporate governance, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hive mind, invisible hand, Kenneth Arrow, law of one price, meta analysis, meta-analysis, prediction markets, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Saturday Night Live, social intelligence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game

These are just a few examples of how a government wishes it could keep its promises, but just can’t find a way to do it—the temptation to cheat is just too strong. Governments find it difficult to tie their own hands. But once again, the power of patience will come to the rescue: once again, groups that are more patient will be more likely to reap the rewards of a better economy, while the less patient will be stuck in the one-shot world of suboptimal plans. Patience can make the optimal plan into a time consistent plan. Economists Robert Barro and Robert Gordon were early to point this out. If you take Kydland and Prescott’s simple two-period story and lengthen it out to an endless number of periods, then you find yourself in a world in which reputation matters.12 And fortunately, that theoretical world is exactly like the real world: just as your grandmother taught you, a good reputation is worth many rubies. And Barro and Gordon note that patience is crucial to getting that reputation.


pages: 743 words: 189,512

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz

Albert Einstein, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Gary Taubes, Indoor air pollution, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Robert Gordon, selection bias, the scientific method, Upton Sinclair

Series A, Containing Papers of a Mathematical and Physical Character 122, no. 790 (1929): 552–563. “in no way objectionable”: A. D. Barbour, “The Deposition and Utilization of Hydrogenation Isoleic Acid in the Animal Body,” Journal of Biological Chemistry 10, no. 1 (1933): 71. grew more slowly: A. K. Pickat, “The Nutritive Value of Margarine and Soy Bean-Oil,” Voprosy Pitaniia 2, no. 5 (1933): 34–60. yin-yang of conflicting results: Kenneth P. McConnel and Robert Gordon Sinclair, “Passage of Elaidic Acid through the Placenta and Also into the Milk of the Rat,” Journal of Biological Chemistry 118, no. 1 (1937): 118–129; E. Aaes-Jørgensen et al., “The Role of Fat in the Diet of Rats,” British Journal of Nutrition 10, no. 4 (1956): 292–304. was a 1944 study: H. J. Deuel et al., “Studies of the Comparative Nutritive Value of Fats: I. Growth Rate and Efficiency of Conversion of Various Diets to Tissue,” Journal of Nutrition 27 (1944): 107–121; H.

Nutrition and National Health: The Cantor Lectures. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1936. McClellan, Walter S., Virgil R. Rupp, and Vincent Toscani. “Prolonged Meat Diets with a Study of the Metabolism of Nitrogen, Calcium, and Phosporus.” Journal of Biological Chemistry 87, no. 3 (July 1930): 669–680. McCollum, Elmer Verner. The Newer Knowledge of Nutrition. New York: MacMillan, 1921. McConnell, Kenneth P. and Robert Gordon Sinclair. “Passage of Elaidic Acid Through the Placenta and Also into the Milk of the Rat.” Journal of Biological Chemistry 118, no. 1 (1937): 123–129. McGill, Henry C., C. Alex McMahan, Edward E. Herderick, Gray T. Malcom, Richard E. Tracy, and Jack P. Strong. “Origin of Atherosclerosis in Childhood and Adolescence.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 72, no. 5 suppl. (November 2000): 1307S–1315S.


pages: 586 words: 186,548

Architects of Intelligence by Martin Ford

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive bias, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flash crash, future of work, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, information retrieval, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, self-driving car, sensor fusion, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social intelligence, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, working-age population, zero-sum game, Zipcar

And unless we get big gains in productivity, we’re going to have a downdraft in economic growth. If we think productivity growth matters right now for our current growth, which it does, it’s going to matter even more for the next 50 years if we still want economic growth and prosperity. MARTIN FORD: This is kind of touching on the economist Robert Gordon’s argument that may be there’s not going to be much economic growth in the future. (Robert Gordon’s 2017 book The Rise and Fall of American Growth, offers a very pessimistic view of future economic growth in the United States) JAMES MANYIKA: While Bob Gordon’s saying there may not be economic growth, he’s also questioning whether we’re going to have big enough innovations, comparable to electrification and other things like that, to really drive economic growth.


pages: 283 words: 73,093

Social Democratic America by Lane Kenworthy

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, basic income, business cycle, Celtic Tiger, centre right, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, David Brooks, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, full employment, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, Kenneth Arrow, labor-force participation, manufacturing employment, market bubble, minimum wage unemployment, new economy, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, school choice, shareholder value, sharing economy, Skype, Steve Jobs, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, universal basic income, War on Poverty, working poor, zero day

Moreover, even if productivity growth is sluggish in low-end services, it may, as Baumol himself points out, be rapid in other parts of the economy.44 Technological advance and improvements in work organization can yield leaps forward. The computer and communications revolutions already have generated considerable advance in manufacturing, finance, and an array of other services. They will soon do so in medicine, education, and elsewhere. In recent years, several analysts, including Robert Gordon and Tyler Cowen, have expressed pessimism about the likelihood of further productivity-enhancing innovations.45 The information technology revolution has largely run its course, they say, and in any case it never boosted productivity to the same degree as earlier innovations such as steam engines, railroads, electricity, the assembly line, indoor heating and air conditioning, running water, sewers, roads, and the internal combustion engine.


pages: 325 words: 73,035

Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life by Richard Florida

active measures, assortative mating, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, borderless world, BRICs, business climate, Celebration, Florida, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, edge city, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, extreme commuting, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, income inequality, industrial cluster, invention of the telegraph, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, megacity, new economy, New Urbanism, Peter Calthorpe, place-making, post-work, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, urban planning, World Values Survey, young professional

As Cornell University economist Robert Frank pointed out in his 2007 book Falling Behind, the richest 1 percent of Americans saw their share of national income rise from 8.2 percent in 1980 to 17.4 percent in 2005. “More astonishing still,” noted journalist Clive Crook in a 2006 article for the Atlantic Monthly, is that “from 1997 to 2001, the top 1 percent captured far more of the real national gain in wage and salary income than did the bottom 50 percent. And even within that highest percentile, the gains were heavily concentrated at the top.” See Ian Dew-Becker and Robert Gordon, “Where Did the Productivity Growth Go? Inflation Dynamics and the Distribution of Income,” presented to the Brookings Institution, September 2005. Robert Frank, Falling Behind: How Inequality Harms the Middle Class, University of California Press, 2007. Clive Crook, “The Height of Inequality,” Atlantic Monthly, September 2006, pp. 36-37. 2 Herbert Muschamp, “Checking into Escapism,” New York Times, November 2, 2002. 3 Greg Spencer and Tara Vinodrai, “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone: Assessing Talent Flows between Canadian Cities,” ISRN Annual Meeting, May 2, 2008. 4 Bethan Thomas and Danny Dorling, Identity in Britain: A Cradle-to-Grave Atlas, Polity Press, 2007.


pages: 264 words: 76,643

The Growth Delusion: Wealth, Poverty, and the Well-Being of Nations by David Pilling

Airbnb, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Branko Milanovic, call centre, centre right, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Erik Brynjolfsson, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial intermediation, financial repression, Gini coefficient, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Hangouts, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, mortgage debt, off grid, old-boy network, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, peak oil, performance metric, pez dispenser, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, science of happiness, shareholder value, sharing economy, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

These allow pharmaceutical companies to charge hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for their products. But when the patent runs out, the price of the same medicine falls to pennies and the product essentially vanishes from the economy. If you think technology is accelerating faster than ever before, as many do, then the mismeasurement problem is getting worse. But there are serious academics who contend that the really important advances in technology are all behind us. Robert Gordon, an expert on productivity at Northwestern University, argues that all the truly transformative inventions came about after 1870 and more or less ran out of steam around 1970. He cites the invention of electricity and the internal combustion engine, and the provision of clean water and sewage disposal. These led to the invention of machines such as the telephone, the radio, the refrigerator, the car, and aircraft.


pages: 491 words: 77,650

Humans as a Service: The Promise and Perils of Work in the Gig Economy by Jeremias Prassl

3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrei Shleifer, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, call centre, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, global supply chain, hiring and firing, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market friction, means of production, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, pattern recognition, platform as a service, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, remote working, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Singh, software as a service, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, transaction costs, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, two tier labour market, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, working-age population

Martin Sandbu, ‘The problem is not too many robots, but too few’, Financial Times (4 April 2017), http://www.ft.com/content/bcb600d4–1870–11e7-a53d- df09f373be87, archived at https://perma.cc/QCX5-4K6N 70. See, e.g., Paul Krugman, ‘Robot geometry (very wonkish)’, Financial Times (20 March 2017), https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/robot-geome- try-very-wonkish, archived at https://perma.cc/KGF7-YKRS; Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton University Press 2016). 71. Uber contests these allegations: Mike Isaac, ‘How Uber deceives the authorities worldwide’, The New York Times (3 March 2017), http://www.nytimes. com/2017/03/03/technology/uber-greyball-programme-evade-authorities. html?_r=1, archived at https://perma.cc/G48X-RUV7; Julia Carrie Wong, ‘Greyball: how Uber used secret software to dodge the law’, The Guardian (4 March 2017), http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/03/uber- secret-programme-greyball-resignation-ed-baker, archived at https://perma.


pages: 340 words: 81,110

How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky, Daniel Ziblatt

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gunnar Myrdal, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Nate Silver, Norman Mailer, old-boy network, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, single-payer health, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, universal basic income

Also Mark Lilla, “The End of Identity Liberalism.” “The simple fact of the matter”: Danielle Allen, “Charlottesville Is Not the Continuation of an Old Fight. It Is Something New,” Washington Post, August 13, 2017. The intensity of partisan animosities: Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013). Today’s racially tinged partisan polarization: Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016), p. 613. economic changes of the last few decades: Katherine Kramer, The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), p. 3. “welfare queens”: Ian Haney Lopez, Dog Whistle Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).


pages: 304 words: 80,143

The Autonomous Revolution: Reclaiming the Future We’ve Sold to Machines by William Davidow, Michael Malone

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, business process, call centre, cashless society, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, QWERTY keyboard, ransomware, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Snapchat, speech recognition, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, trade route, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, urban planning, zero day, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Yes, the semiconductor triumphed over the clunky vacuum tube, but that was only the beginning. By the mid-1960s, semiconductor technology was already creating industries that never would have existed without it—ultimately billion- and trillion-dollar ones. One of the defining characteristics of the monetizable productivity increases of the past was that they created even larger increases in the value of the GDP. According to the economist Robert Gordon, U.S. productivity grew at an annual rate of 2.82 percent between 1920 and 1970.16 During that same interval, GDP increased by more than 3.2 percent.17 When GDP grows faster than productivity it generates a demand for more workers. Thus, the old productivity created not only more dollars of economic output but also jobs. Even more importantly, it created good times. Per capita GDP grew about 2 percent per year during that same half-century,18 and each generation earned about 50 percent more income than the one before.


pages: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells

"Robert Solow", Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, borderless world, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, computerized trading, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, Induced demand, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, intermodal, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, Leonard Kleinrock, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, moral panic, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, popular capitalism, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social software, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, urban sprawl, zero-sum game

Economic Policy Institute: Fig. 4.8 “Employment in the temporary help industry in the United States, 1982–1997,” analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by Lawrence Mishel, Jared Bernstein and John Schmitt, The State of Working America 1998–99. Copyright © Cornell University Press/Economic Policy Institute, Ithaca and London. The Economist: Fig. 2.2 “Estimate of evolution of productivity in the United States, 1972–1999 (output per hour),” Bureau of Labor Statistics, elaborated by Robert Gordon in “The new economy: work in progress,” in The Economist, pp. 21–4. Copyright © 1999 The Economist, London (24 July). Reprinted by permission of the publisher. The Economist: Fig. 2.9 “Declining dividends payments,” in “Shares without the other bit” in The Economist, p. 135. Copyright © The Economist, London (20 November). Reprinted by permission of the publisher. The Economist: Fig. 5.1 “Media sales in 1998 of major media groups,” company reports; Veronis, Suhler and Associates; Zenith Media; Warburg Dillon Read; elaborated by The Economist, 1, p. 62.

And yet, even the statistical evidence provided to refute the notion of significant productivity increase, associated with information technology, seems to confirm the new trend in upward productivity growth, on the condition that data are interpreted in a dynamic perspective. Thus, the study most often cited to object to an upturn of productivity growth in the late 1990s is the one posted on the Internet in 1999 by a leading productivity economist, Robert Gordon.31 As shown in figure 2.2 and table 2.5, Gordon observed un upswing in productivity growth in the 1995–9 period, at about 2.15 percent per year, almost doubling the performance during 1972–95. However, decomposing productivity growth by sectors, he found that the overwhelming proportion of productivity growth was concentrated in computer manufacturing, which increased its productivity in 1995–9 at the stunning rate of 41.7 percent per year.


Saving America's Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age by Lizabeth Cohen

activist lawyer, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, charter city, deindustrialization, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, garden city movement, ghettoisation, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, indoor plumbing, Jane Jacobs, land reform, megastructure, new economy, New Urbanism, Peter Eisenman, postindustrial economy, race to the bottom, rent control, Robert Gordon, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Victor Gruen, Vilfredo Pareto, walkable city, War on Poverty, white flight, white picket fence, young professional

Schell, “Oak Street Unearthed: The Households in New Haven’s Low-Income Housing 1913–1957” (term paper, Yale Law School, 1998; New Haven Museum and Historical Society), 67, which documents that blacks had greater difficulty than Jews moving out of the Oak Street neighborhood.   48. New Haven Human Rights Committee, “Report of Findings and Recommendations 12–14,” 1964, in Ellickson, Urban Legal History, 590.   49. Rae, City, 340–43. Also, Family Relocation Office, “Report of the Progress of Family Relocations in Oak Street Redevelopment Area,” March 10, 1957, cited in Gregory Ruben (paper for Robert Gordon on lawyers in urban renewal of New Haven, June 2006 draft), 36n184, in possession of the author.   50. For a thorough investigation of the state of black organizations in New Haven, see Williams, Black Politics/White Power, chapters 1–3. The Reverend Edwin Edmonds, a civil rights activist from North Carolina, criticized the moderate views of New Haven’s civil rights leaders when he became the minister of the Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church in 1959: “This was one backward town”; Rev.

I am grateful to Alan Altshuler, Hillary Ballon, Frank Barrett, David Barron, Paul Bass, Jonathan Bell, Nicholas Bloom, Peter Bray, Robert Caro, Michael Carriere, Sue Cobble, Nancy Cott, John Davis, Jameson Doig, Claire Dunning, Robert Ellikson, Louise Endel, Susan Fainstein, Justin Florence, Eric Foner, Gerald Frug, John Gaddis, Gary Gerstle, Jess Gilbert, Glenda Gilmore, Edward Glaeser, Brian Goldstein, Linda Gordon, Robert Gordon, Chris Grimley, Michael Gruenbaum, Dirk Hartog, Dolores Hayden, Diana Hernandez, Jennifer Hock, Andy Horowitz, Ada Louise Huxtable, Ken Jackson, Jerold Kayden, Alice Kessler-Harris, Jim Kloppenberg, Alex Krieger, Michael Kubo, Clifford Kuhn, Matthew Lasner, Stephen Lassonde, Deborah Leff, Neil Levine, David Luberoff, Elisa Minoff, John Mollenkopf, Mitchell Moss, Dan Okrent, Mark Pasnik, Alina Payne, Alan Plattus, Douglas Rae, Tim Rohan, Mark Rose, Lynne Sagalyn, Nick Salvatore, Hashim Sarkis, Chris Schmidt, Jane Shaw, Gaddis Smith, Jonathan Soffer, Tim Stanley, Robert Stern, Tom Sugrue, Mary Summers, Adam Tanaka, Lawrence Vale, Jim Vrabel, David Wylie, and Elizabeth Ylvisaker.


pages: 355 words: 92,571

Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets by John Plender

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business climate, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, diversification, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, God and Mammon, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, money market fund, moral hazard, moveable type in China, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit motive, quantitative easing, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, too big to fail, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Veblen good, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck, zero-sum game

Or they can treat the crisis as a wake-up call to fix what debt has papered over in the last few decades. For better or worse, the narrative that persuades these countries’ governments and publics will determine their future – and that of the global economy.205 Whether the advanced countries would be able anyway to revive innovation and productivity growth is an open question. Northwestern University’s Robert Gordon has forecast a slower rate of productivity improvement in the US than in the past because there is nothing in prospect that matches the huge changes wrought by such advances as steam power, railways, electrification, the internal combustion engine, or even such simple things as running water and home sanitation. He argues that the transformative power of the internet is less potent than these earlier innovations.


pages: 282 words: 89,266

Content Provider: Selected Short Prose Pieces, 2011–2016 by Stewart Lee

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Boris Johnson, call centre, centre right, David Attenborough, Etonian, James Dyson, Livingstone, I presume, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, Right to Buy, Robert Gordon, Saturday Night Live, sensible shoes, Socratic dialogue, trickle-down economics, wage slave, young professional

a) Comedian Charlie Williams b) Dennis Wheatley c) Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson of Throbbing Gristle d) Ali Bongo Question 18: In Michael Gove’s 1985 poem “Larking About”, where do the sexually active teenage boys he both despises and envies store their vomit? a) In sealed Tupperware boxes b) In pint glasses c) In their heads d) In their souls Question 27: What was Michael Gove describing when he said, “The cure might be worse than the disease”? a) Going to bed wearing boxing gloves while a pupil at Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen b) Extra regulation of the press c) Having his consistently bitten fingernails smeared with earwax by Matron. d) Ed Balls Question 104: The verb “gove” means … a) To stare like a fool b) To predict the future c) To tame ferrets, shrews or weasels d) To take plums from trees without consent It was too perfect. Students completed the work online, allowing teachers to track their progress.


pages: 322 words: 87,181

Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy by Dani Rodrik

3D printing, airline deregulation, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, central bank independence, centre right, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, continuous integration, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, endogenous growth, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, failed state, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, floating exchange rates, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, global value chain, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Kenneth Rogoff, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market fundamentalism, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, open borders, open economy, Pareto efficiency, postindustrial economy, price stability, pushing on a string, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steven Pinker, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, World Values Survey, zero-sum game, éminence grise

By contrast, government services and health care, which together produce more than a quarter of GDP, have had virtually no productivity growth. Techno-optimists, such as the McKinsey authors, look at such numbers as an opportunity: there remain vast productivity gains to be had from the adoption of new technologies in the lagging sectors. The pessimists, on the other hand, think that such gaps may be a structural, lasting feature of today’s economies. For example, the economic historian Robert Gordon argues that today’s innovations pale in contrast to past technological revolutions in terms of their likely economy-wide impact.15 Electricity, the automobile, airplane, air-conditioning, and household appliances altered the way that ordinary people live in fundamental ways. They made inroads in every sector of the economy. Perhaps the digital revolution, impressive as it has been, will not reach as far.


pages: 389 words: 98,487

The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich Are Rich, the Poor Are Poor, and Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car by Tim Harford

Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business cycle, collective bargaining, congestion charging, Corn Laws, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, George Akerlof, information asymmetry, invention of movable type, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, market design, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, new economy, Pearl River Delta, price discrimination, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, random walk, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, Shenzhen was a fishing village, special economic zone, spectrum auction, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, Vickrey auction

The most famous bullish book was James Glassman and Kevin Hassett’s Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market (New York: Times Books, 1999); the authors defend it in the Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2002, “Dow 36,000 revisited,” available at http://www.aei.org/news/ filter.,newsID.14128/news_detail.asp) and http://www.techcentralstation.com/ 120504A.html. The prediction that the Dow will hit 36,000 in 3 to 5 years is made • 257 • N O T E S on page 18 of “Dow 36,000,” and economist Brad DeLong is extremely dismissive: http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2005_archives/000025.html. How transformational is the “new economy”? Robert Gordon has given the definitive skeptical statement in “Does the ‘New Economy’ Measure up to the Great Inventions of the Past?” Journal of Economic Perspectives 4, no.14 (Fall 2000): 49–74. Paul David’s argument that new technology takes time to have a real economic impact is most famously expounded in “The Dynamo and the Computer: An Historical Perspective on the Modern Productivity Paradox,” The American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, May 1990, 355–61.


pages: 443 words: 98,113

The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers Thrive and Work Does Not Pay by Guy Standing

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, Bonfire of the Vanities, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, ending welfare as we know it, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Firefox, first-past-the-post, future of work, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, housing crisis, income inequality, information retrieval, intangible asset, invention of the steam engine, investor state dispute settlement, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, mini-job, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Neil Kinnock, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, nudge unit, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, openstreetmap, patent troll, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, quantitative easing, remote working, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Right to Buy, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, structural adjustment programs, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, the payments system, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, Zipcar

The neo-liberalism that followed has generated rising inequality of wealth and income, and chronic insecurity for a rapidly growing precariat. Worst of all, it has created a plutocracy and plutocratic corporations linked to concentrated financial capital that are able to gain increasing amounts of rental income by virtue of their wealth. Meanwhile, wages are stagnating. With China, India and other major industrialising economies becoming centres of employment, that stagnation will continue. US economist Robert Gordon has added to the gloomy prognosis about future changes in living standards for those relying on labour, noting that US productivity growth has slowed to a dawdle.57 It promises to be the same in Europe and Japan and it will stay that way. The old income distribution system that tied income to jobs has disintegrated. A new system is feasible. But first we need to understand just why and how the rentiers are running away with most of the income and wealth.


pages: 831 words: 98,409

SUPERHUBS: How the Financial Elite and Their Networks Rule Our World by Sandra Navidi

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, assortative mating, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, butterfly effect, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, diversification, East Village, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, family office, financial repression, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google bus, Gordon Gekko, haute cuisine, high net worth, hindsight bias, income inequality, index fund, intangible asset, Jaron Lanier, John Meriwether, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, McMansion, mittelstand, money market fund, Myron Scholes, NetJets, Network effects, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, Parag Khanna, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Renaissance Technologies, rent-seeking, reserve currency, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Future of Employment, The Predators' Ball, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, too big to fail, women in the workforce, young professional

The think tank Club of Rome argued in its 1972 research report The Limits to Growth that growth cannot continue indefinitely because resources like water, food, and energy are limited. More-recent research has only corroborated this theory, concluding that the drive for limitless economic growth could disrupt many local, regional and global systems and would end either through an uncontrolled collapse or human adaptation.46 Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon predicts significantly slower growth for the foreseeable future, because the most significant innovations that triggered disproportionate growth over the last 150 years—such as the internal combustion engine, running water, and electricity—were in his opinion unique and unrepeatable.47 Culture: The Value of Our Values To a certain extent the drive for growth is expedient, as the economy is like a plane that must fly at a certain speed to stay airborne.


pages: 364 words: 104,697

Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? by Thomas Geoghegan

Albert Einstein, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bob Geldof, collective bargaining, corporate governance, cross-subsidies, dark matter, David Brooks, declining real wages, deindustrialization, ending welfare as we know it, facts on the ground, Gini coefficient, haute cuisine, income inequality, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, McJob, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, pensions crisis, plutocrats, Plutocrats, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce

No, I want to focus on whether this extra GDP is making anyone better off, and even whether it might even be making everyone worse off. (Then, after that, we can focus on Barbara and Isabel in their respectively well-off but not superrich lifestyles.) Okay—first let’s start squeezing some of the “fat” out of Barbara’s GDP per capita. We have to put our GDP on a diet, or deflate some of the bloat in it, before we can decide which woman is better off. Let’s take a nonpolitical thing, like the weather. Robert Gordon, one of our leading economists, a professor at Northwestern, makes the point about heat and air-conditioning in the U.S.: the extremes in our weather help pump up our GDP. We spend more on oil, coal, even water. Like Sherman’s army, the whole U.S. population is moving to the South, where it’s ever hotter. Like the Mormons, the population also is heading into the West, deeper into the desert without water to drink.


pages: 605 words: 110,673

Drugs Without the Hot Air by David Nutt

British Empire, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, offshore financial centre, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), War on Poverty

, Peter Bebergal, URL-121, June 9th 2008 13 use in problem solving• LSD – The Problem Solving Psychedelic, PG Stafford and BH Golightly, Award Books, 1967 14 Francis Crick• Nobel Prize Genius Crick was High on LSD when he discovered the secret of life, Alun Rees, the Mail on Sunday, August 8th 2004 15 Kary Mullis• BBC Horizon – Psychedelic Science – DMT, LSD, Ibogaine – Part 5, BBC, 1997 16 polymerase chain reaction (PCR)• The polymerase chain reaction is used to “amplify” a small amount of DNA, to produce a larger quantity that makes testing possible or easier. It is used every day in every aspect of life sciences, including forensic investigation and medical diagnosis. 17 There are many other kinds of psychedelic drugs• High Society, Mike Jay, Thames & Hudson, 2010 18 few recorded incidents of people taking them accidentally• As above. 19 Valeda mushroom ceremony in Mexico• Seeking the magic mushroom, Robert Gordon Wasson, Life Magazine, June 10th 1957 20 a licence once someone has participated in a workshop, or perhaps passed a test, to ensure that they know how to use them safely• Will Harvard drop acid again?, Peter Bebergal, URL-121, June 9th 2008 15 The War on Drugs, and drugs in war 1“Public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.”


pages: 376 words: 109,092

Paper Promises by Philip Coggan

accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, debt deflation, delayed gratification, diversified portfolio, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, fear of failure, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, German hyperinflation, global reserve currency, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market clearing, Martin Wolf, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, negative equity, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, paradox of thrift, peak oil, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, principal–agent problem, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, time value of money, too big to fail, trade route, tulip mania, value at risk, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Low real rates should be a sign of low expected growth. So to the extent that the discount rate falls, expected future cashflows should fall as well. 20 Grantham, ‘Night of the Living Fed’. 8. RIDING THE GRAVY TRAIN 1 J. K. Galbraith, Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went, 2nd edn, London, 1995. 2 Lawrence Mishel, ‘CEO-to-Worker Pay Imbalance Grows’, Economic Policy Institute, June 2006. 3 Ian Dew-Becker and Robert Gordon, ‘Where Did the Productivity Growth Go? Inflation Dynamics and the Distribution of Income’, National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 11842. 4 Edward N. Wolff, ‘Recent Trends in Household Wealth in the United States: Rising Debt and the Middle Class Squeeze’, an update to 2007 Working Paper no. 589, Levy Economics Institute, March 2010. 5 Raghuram Rajan, Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Threaten the World Economy, Princeton, 2010. 6 ‘Finance, Financial Sector Policies and Long-Run Growth’, by Asli Demir-guc-Kunt of the World Bank and Ross Levine of Brown University. 7 Adair Turner, ‘What do banks do?


pages: 378 words: 110,518

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason

Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, financial repression, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, Metcalfe's law, microservices, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, post-industrial society, precariat, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wages for housework, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

Yet the persistence of low growth has now driven even mainstream economists beyond such complacency. Larry Summers, Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton and an architect of bank deregulation, shook the economics world in 2013 by warning that the West faced ‘secular stagnation’ – that is, low growth for the foreseeable future. ‘Unfortunately,’ he admitted, low growth ‘has been present for a long time, but has been masked by unsustainable finances’.15 Veteran US economist Robert Gordon went further, predicting persistent low growth in the USA for the next twenty-five years, as a result of lower productivity, an ageing population, high debts and growing inequality.16 Remorselessly, capitalism’s failure to revive has moved concerns away from the scenario of a ten-year stagnation caused by overhanging debts, towards one where the system never regains its dynamism. Ever. To understand what is rational about these premonitions of doom, we need critically to examine four things that at first allowed neoliberalism to flourish but which have begun to destroy it.


pages: 935 words: 267,358

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, banks create money, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, central bank independence, centre right, circulation of elites, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, full employment, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, high net worth, Honoré de Balzac, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, index card, inflation targeting, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, market bubble, means of production, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, open economy, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, refrigerator car, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, twin studies, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, We are the 99%, zero-sum game

If we look at the last few decades, we find even lower growth rates in the wealthiest countries: between 1990 and 2012, per capita output grew at a rate of 1.6 percent in Western Europe, 1.4 percent in North America, and 0.7 percent in Japan.21 It is important to bear this reality in mind as I proceed, because many people think that growth ought to be at least 3 or 4 percent per year. As noted, both history and logic show this to be illusory. With these preliminaries out of the way, what can we say about future growth rates? Some economists, such as Robert Gordon, believe that the rate of growth of per capita output is destined to slow in the most advanced countries, starting with the United States, and may sink below 0.5 percent per year between 2050 and 2100.22 Gordon’s analysis is based on a comparison of the various waves of innovation that have succeeded one another since the invention of the steam engine and introduction of electricity, and on the finding that the most recent waves—including the revolution in information technology—have a much lower growth potential than earlier waves, because they are less disruptive to modes of production and do less to improve productivity across the economy.

The history of the past two centuries makes it highly unlikely that per capita output in the advanced countries will grow at a rate above 1.5 percent per year, but I am unable to predict whether the actual rate will be 0.5 percent, 1 percent, or 1.5 percent. The median scenario I will present here is based on a long-term per capita output growth rate of 1.2 percent in the wealthy countries, which is relatively optimistic compared with Robert Gordon’s predictions (which I think are a little too dark). This level of growth cannot be achieved, however, unless new sources of energy are developed to replace hydrocarbons, which are rapidly being depleted.23 This is only one scenario among many. An Annual Growth of 1 Percent Implies Major Social Change In my view, the most important point—more important than the specific growth rate prediction (since, as I have shown, any attempt to reduce long-term growth to a single figure is largely illusory)—is that a per capita output growth rate on the order of 1 percent is in fact extremely rapid, much more rapid than many people think.


pages: 409 words: 118,448

An Extraordinary Time: The End of the Postwar Boom and the Return of the Ordinary Economy by Marc Levinson

affirmative action, airline deregulation, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, car-free, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, clean water, deindustrialization, endogenous growth, falling living standards, financial deregulation, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, intermodal, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, late capitalism, linear programming, manufacturing employment, new economy, Nixon shock, North Sea oil, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, price stability, purchasing power parity, refrigerator car, Right to Buy, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, rolodex, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, statistical model, strikebreaker, structural adjustment programs, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, unorthodox policies, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce, working-age population, yield curve, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

While some wealthy countries seemed to have found formulas that allowed them to defy the global trend—France and Italy for a few years in the late 1970s, Japan in the second half of the 1980s—their economies revived only briefly before productivity growth waned, jobs became scarce, and improvements in living standards came far more slowly. There were innovations aplenty during those years, but their overall economic effect was modest. As the economist Robert Gordon points out, “the productivity advances since 1970 have tended to be channeled into a narrow sphere of human activity having to do with entertainment, communications, and the collection and processing of information. For the rest of what humans care about—food, shelter, transportation, health, and working conditions both inside and outside the home—progress slowed down.” Gordon’s research pertains to the United States, but his conclusions are relevant to the other wealthy countries as well.11 And unlike the innovations of the 1950s and 1960s, which seemed to benefit almost everyone, those of the final quarter of the twentieth century had costly side effects.


pages: 424 words: 115,035

How Will Capitalism End? by Wolfgang Streeck

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Graeber, debt deflation, deglobalization, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, en.wikipedia.org, eurozone crisis, failed state, financial deregulation, financial innovation, first-past-the-post, fixed income, full employment, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, market bubble, means of production, moral hazard, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, open borders, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, post-industrial society, private sector deleveraging, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, savings glut, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, sovereign wealth fund, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, Uber for X, upwardly mobile, Vilfredo Pareto, winner-take-all economy, Wolfgang Streeck

For illustration I will point to five systemic disorders of today’s advanced capitalism; all of them result in various ways from the weakening of traditional institutional and political restraints on capitalist advance. I call them stagnation, oligarchic redistribution, the plundering of the public domain, corruption and global anarchy. Six years after Lehman, predictions of long-lasting economic stagnation are en vogue. A prominent example is a much-discussed paper by Robert Gordon, who argues that the main innovations that have driven productivity and economic growth since the 1800s could happen only once, like the increase in the speed of transportation or the installation of running water in cities.29 Compared to them, the recent spread of information technology has produced only minor productivity effects, if any. While Gordon’s argument may seem somewhat technologically deterministic, it appears plausible that capitalism can hope to attain the level of growth needed to compensate a non-capitalist working class for helping others accumulate capital only if technology opens up ever new opportunities for increasing productivity.


pages: 446 words: 117,660

Arguing With Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future by Paul Krugman

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, cryptocurrency, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, different worldview, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, employer provided health coverage, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial repression, frictionless, frictionless market, fudge factor, full employment, Growth in a Time of Debt, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, index fund, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, large denomination, liquidity trap, London Whale, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, means of production, New Urbanism, obamacare, oil shock, open borders, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, quantitative easing, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, universal basic income, very high income, working-age population

The 2006 Economic Report of the President tells us that the real earnings of college graduates actually fell more than 5 percent between 2000 and 2004. Over the longer stretch from 1975 to 2004 the average earnings of college graduates rose, but by less than 1 percent per year. So who are the winners from rising inequality? It’s not the top 20 percent, or even the top 10 percent. The big gains have gone to a much smaller, much richer group than that. A new research paper by Ian Dew-Becker and Robert Gordon of Northwestern University, “Where Did the Productivity Growth Go?,” gives the details. Between 1972 and 2001 the wage and salary income of Americans at the 90th percentile of the income distribution rose only 34 percent, or about 1 percent per year. So being in the top 10 percent of the income distribution, like being a college graduate, wasn’t a ticket to big income gains. But income at the 99th percentile rose 87 percent; income at the 99.9th percentile rose 181 percent; and income at the 99.99th percentile rose 497 percent.


pages: 450 words: 113,173

The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties by Christopher Caldwell

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-communist, Bernie Sanders, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, blue-collar work, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, computer age, crack epidemic, crony capitalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Attenborough, desegregation, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Firefox, full employment, George Gilder, global value chain, Home mortgage interest deduction, illegal immigration, immigration reform, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, libertarian paternalism, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, mortgage tax deduction, Nate Silver, new economy, Norman Mailer, post-industrial society, pre–internet, profit motive, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game

The “abolition of distance” was not the advance it seemed. The breakthrough was not in travel but in communications. The distance abolished was the kind that is in people’s heads. Looked at this way, computers have been not so much an expression of America’s historic ingenuity as an alternative to it. In his history of economic growth in the United States, the Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon found no special productivity boost from the computer age. Outside of Silicon Valley, according to the economist Edmund Phelps, American innovation “would narrow to a trickle” after the 1960s. In 1969, U.S. Industries, Inc., had promised that within a decade the 1960s would seem like the Dark Ages, once Americans got used to “automatic highways—computerized kitchens—person-to-person television . . . food from under the sea.”


pages: 437 words: 113,173

Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance by Ian Goldin, Chris Kutarna

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, clean water, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dava Sobel, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental economics, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, full employment, Galaxy Zoo, global pandemic, global supply chain, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Johannes Kepler, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, open economy, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, post-Panamax, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, Snapchat, special economic zone, spice trade, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uber lyft, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, zero day

Economists figure that this is a good way to track the technological progress of a society. (“Technology” includes more than just machines. It also includes things like laws, regulations and business models.) Depending on whether I harvest my crop with a two-handed scythe or with a GPS-guided combine, the number—the value of one hour’s work—will vary quite a lot. Right now, this number is worrisome. In 2012 Robert Gordon, a guru of US growth economics, pored over a century of US productivity data and concluded that all our recent technological achievements don’t amount to much in real terms. For the first 80 years of his study, from 1891 to 1972, US labor productivity grew about 2.3 percent per year. That’s sizzling-fast in macroeconomic terms (at that rate, productivity doubles with each new generation), and its speed and duration are proof that the technological changes to which those generations bore witness totally transformed their lives for the better.


pages: 573 words: 115,489

Prosperity Without Growth: Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow by Tim Jackson

"Robert Solow", bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, bonus culture, Boris Johnson, business cycle, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, David Graeber, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, full employment, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hans Rosling, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, liberal capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, paradox of thrift, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, Philip Mirowski, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, secular stagnation, short selling, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, universal basic income, Works Progress Administration, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

What if the capacity of the economy to grow was slowing down? What if the reluctance of businesses to invest and consumers to spend was not just a cyclical downturn but a more entrenched change in economic fundamentals? The term ‘secular stagnation’ re-emerged – it had first been used in 1939 – to reflect precisely these possibilities.51 For the most part, fears of secular stagnation have been directed at the advanced economies. US economist Robert Gordon has suggested that a slowdown in the US economy could come about as a result of a decline in the pace of innovation – many of the big technological advances of the last two centuries are now over – together with six ‘deflationary headwinds’, which are taken to include: an ageing population, rising inequality and the ‘overhang’ of consumer and government debt.52 Irrespective of precise causes, it is indisputable that labour productivity growth in the advanced economies has been falling consistently for several decades, and was doing so long before the financial crisis.


pages: 1,203 words: 124,556

Lonely Planet Cape Town & the Garden Route (Travel Guide) by Lucy Corne

Berlin Wall, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, carbon footprint, haute couture, haute cuisine, load shedding, Mark Shuttleworth, mass immigration, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, Robert Gordon, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, urban sprawl

These were the unmarked graves of slaves and others executed by the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries on what was then known as Gallows Hill. The bones were exhumed and this memorial building, with an attractive facade of Robben Island slate, was created. It includes an ossuary and excellent interpretive displays, including a replica of the remarkable 360-degree panorama of Table Bay painted by Robert Gordon in 1778. There's a branch of the coffee shop Truth ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; www.truthcoffee.com; Prestwich Memorial, cnr Somerset & Buitengracht Sts, De Waterkant; h8am-6pm Mon-Fri, to 2pm Sat & Sun; gStrand) in the memorial building. Prestwich Memorial GardenSCULPTURE ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; cnr Somerset & Buitengracht Sts, De Waterkant; gStrand) Along the Walk of Remembrance (formerly known as the 2010 World Cup's Fan Walk) and one end of the proposed City Walk attraction is this attractive public space dotted with a collection of quirky sculptures and installations by Capetonian artists, including the rainbow arch It’s Beautiful Here by Heath Nash, the Full Cycle Tree by KEAG and several Rock Girl benches.


pages: 413 words: 119,587

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

"Robert Solow", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gunnar Myrdal, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, zero-sum game

Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds,” Policy Insight 63 (September 2012), Centre for Economic Policy Research, http://www.cepr.org/sites/default/files/policy_insights/PolicyInsight63.pdf. 45.Robert J. Gordon, “The Demise of U.S. Economic Growth: Restatement, Rebuttal, and Reflections,” NBER Working Paper No. 19895, February 2014, National Bureau of Economic Research, http://www.nber.org/papers/w19895. 46.“Robert Gordon, Erik Brynjolfsson Debate the Future of Work at TED 2013,” TED Blog video, April 23, 2013, https://www.you tube.com/watch?v=ofWK5WglgiI. 47.Robert J. Gordon, “Why Innovation Won’t Save Us,” Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2012, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324461604578191781756437940. 48.Gordon, “The Demise of U.S. Economic Growth.” 49.Craig Trudell, Yukiko Hagiwara, and Jie Ma, “Humans Replacing Robots Herald Toyota’s Vision of Future,” BloombergBusiness, April 7, 2014, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-06/humans-replacing-robots-herald-toyota-s-vision-of-future.html. 50.Stewart Brand, “We Are As Gods,” Whole Earth Catalog, Fall 1968, http://www.wholeearth.com/issue/1010/article/195/we.are.as.gods. 51.Amir Efrati, “Google Beat Facebook for DeepMind, Creates Ethics Board,” Information, January 27, 2014, https://www.theinformation.com/google-beat-facebook-for-deepmind-creates-ethics-board. 52.


pages: 550 words: 124,073

Democracy and Prosperity: Reinventing Capitalism Through a Turbulent Century by Torben Iversen, David Soskice

Andrei Shleifer, assortative mating, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, centre right, cleantech, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, first-past-the-post, full employment, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, implied volatility, income inequality, industrial cluster, inflation targeting, invisible hand, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, means of production, mittelstand, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, open borders, open economy, passive investing, precariat, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, RFID, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, smart cities, speech recognition, The Future of Employment, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, too big to fail, trade liberalization, union organizing, urban decay, Washington Consensus, winner-take-all economy, working-age population, World Values Survey, young professional, zero-sum game

Less gloomy accounts such as Brynjolfsson and McAfee (2012) point out that while technological progress tends to eliminate some jobs, it will not be the end of work itself (cf. Autor 2015). It may even encourage the creation of better and more fulfilling jobs. Yet socio-pessimism is never far behind in the techno-optimist world, because automation is feared to bring “not less work but more worse jobs,” resulting in a “huge, casual, insecure, low paid workforce” (Wajcman 2017, 124). At the most socio-optimistic end is the major new book by Robert Gordon (2016), a techno-pessimist, who sees new IC technologies as merely modest additional layers in a history of economic change marked by more profound inventions such as electricity, telephony, and the internal combustion engine. Gordon argues that productivity growth has declined and that more, not less, work will be needed to sustain an aging population. Perhaps new technology in the past few decades has not been conducive to equality and demand for semiskilled labor, but the future looks bright in that regard.


pages: 756 words: 120,818

The Levelling: What’s Next After Globalization by Michael O’sullivan

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, business process, capital controls, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, cloud computing, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, deglobalization, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, first-past-the-post, fixed income, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Gini coefficient, global value chain, housing crisis, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge economy, liberal world order, Long Term Capital Management, longitudinal study, market bubble, minimum wage unemployment, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, performance metric, private military company, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Sinatra Doctrine, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special drawing rights, supply-chain management, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, tulip mania, Valery Gerasimov, Washington Consensus

The outcome will depend on the ability or inability of the United States and other countries to generate organic economic growth. It is not yet clear that trend growth is picking up meaningfully around the world; in fact, an examination of its component parts suggests the opposite. No Growth No More One of the better, more coherent explanations for the troubling lack of organic economic growth comes from Professor Robert Gordon. Gordon’s central thesis is that many of the innovations we prize today do not generate increases in productivity, and those that do are less impactful on economic growth than previous waves of innovation (in transportation and urbanization, for instance). Social media are an example. Gordon asks whether people would rather do without older innovations, such as indoor toilets and running water, or their Facebook accounts.


pages: 419 words: 119,476

Posh Boys: How English Public Schools Ruin Britain by Robert Verkaik

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Alistair Cooke, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, British Empire, Brixton riot, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Etonian, G4S, gender pay gap, God and Mammon, income inequality, Khartoum Gordon, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Livingstone, I presume, loadsamoney, mega-rich, Neil Kinnock, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, school vouchers, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, trade route, traveling salesman, unpaid internship

But it was Cameron’s Eton friend Ed Llewellyn, two years above him and in the same year as Boris Johnson, whom the future prime minister relied on as his closest confidant and subsequently made his chief of staff. Osborne also opted for an OE as his chief of staff, former head boy Rupert Harrison. This clique of Young Turk Tories worked and played together. They even holidayed together. Among their number were Michael Gove (Robert Gordon’s), Chris Lockwood (St Paul’s) as well as journalists and PR gurus including Robert Hardman and Matthew D’Ancona (St Dunstan’s).28 They met whenever the occasion allowed, including hunt meets in Devon and then near Chipping Norton, where the Camerons later moved.29 Most of the group were invited to Cameron’s wedding to Samantha (St Helen and St Katharine, and Marlborough College).30 This band of policy researchers and advisers secured a velvet revolution in the leadership and direction of the new Conservative Party.


pages: 1,205 words: 308,891

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World by Deirdre N. McCloskey

Airbnb, Akira Okazaki, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, British Empire, business cycle, buy low sell high, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, Costa Concordia, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Ferguson, Missouri, fundamental attribution error, Georg Cantor, George Akerlof, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, God and Mammon, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, Hans Rosling, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, immigration reform, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Harrison: Longitude, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, lake wobegon effect, land reform, liberation theology, lone genius, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, means of production, Naomi Klein, new economy, North Sea oil, Occupy movement, open economy, out of africa, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Pax Mongolica, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Philip Mirowski, pink-collar, plutocrats, Plutocrats, positional goods, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, refrigerator car, rent control, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, spinning jenny, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, the rule of 72, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, union organizing, very high income, wage slave, Washington Consensus, working poor, Yogi Berra

[Yet] it achieves what usually only love can do: the divination of the innermost wishes of the other, even before he himself becomes aware of them. . . . Modern competition is described as the fight of all against all, but at the same time it is the fight of all for all.13 8 Or from the Right and Middle And there are doubts from the right, too. Some students of the economy, such as Robert Gordon, Lawrence Summers, Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McFee, Edmund Phelps, Edward E. Gordon, Jeffrey Sachs, Laurence Kotlikoff, and Tyler Cowen, have argued recently that countries in the position of the United States, on the frontier of betterment, are facing a slowdown, with a skill shortage, and that technological unemployment will be the result.1 Maybe. The economists would acknowledge that in the past couple of centuries numerous other learned commentators have predicted similar slowdowns—such as the Keynesian economists in the late 1930s and the 1940s, confident in their theory of “stagnationism”—only to find their predictions once again falsified by the continuing Great Enrichment.2 The classical economists of the first three-quarters of the nineteenth century, Marx included, expected landlords, or in Marx’s case capitalists, to engorge the national product.

Mishra 2011, p. 12. 6. Reich 2014. 7. Reich 2014. 8. Ibsen 1877 (1965), p. 43. 9. Ibsen 1877 (1965), p. 117. 10. Postrel has written the book on glamour (2013). 11. Zola 1882–1883 (1992), pp. 68–70. 12. Quoted in Kristin Ross’s introduction to Zola 1882–1883 (1992), pp. xi–xii; the italics are Zola’s. 13. Simmel 1908 (1955), pp. 61–62; his italics. Chapter 8 1. Robert Gordon 2012; Summers 2014; Brynjolfsson and McFee 2014; Phelps 2013; Edward Gordon 2013; Sachs and Kotlikoff 2012; Cowen 2011, 2013. 2. Fogel 2005. 3. National Review, May 19, 2014. 4. Cowen 2013, pp. 4, 6. 5. Cowen 2013, p.20. 6. Cowen 2013, p. 39. 7. Cowen 2013, p. 3. 8. Mokyr 2013, 2014. 9. Pagano and Sbracia 2014; compare again Fogel 2005. 10. Macaulay 1830 (1881), pp. 186, 187. 11.


pages: 462 words: 129,022

People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent by Joseph E. Stiglitz

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, central bank independence, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, deglobalization, deindustrialization, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, gig economy, global supply chain, greed is good, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, late fees, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Great Moderation, the market place, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, two-sided market, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, working-age population

But in many areas, this won’t suffice: with AI, robots can learn complicated tasks more quickly and perform better than even well-educated humans. There are those who say not to worry: Look to the past. Markets always created jobs, as the economy restructured. Besides, these techno-optimists claim, the pace of change has been exaggerated. Indeed, it doesn’t even show in the macro-data: productivity increases in recent years are significantly lower than in the 1990s, and in the decades after World War II. Robert Gordon of Northwestern University in his bestselling book The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The US Standard of Living Since the Civil War argues that the pace of innovation has actually slowed.2 Yes, we have Facebook and Google, but these innovations pale in comparison with the importance of electricity, or even indoor toilets and clean water that played such an important role in improving health and longevity.


pages: 464 words: 127,283

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend

1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, Donald Davies, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, off grid, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, undersea cable, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar

If the malaise of the developing world is too much growth, for the rich cities of the global north it may be too little. If smart technology doesn’t improve our productivity, we might not be able to pay for further improvements in energy efficiency. Many hope for a return to the “New Economy” of the late 1990s, when the United States experienced a historic period of rapid increases in productivity driven, we thought, by advances in information technology. But recent research has questioned this explanation. Robert Gordon at Northwestern University notes that the greatest productivity gains from information technology during that expansion were in manufacturing of durable goods, and that it was small in historical terms. “Computers and the internet do not measure up to the Great Inventions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century,” he argued, “and in this sense do not merit the label of ‘Industrial Revolution.”81 Furthermore, these gains soon disappeared and most developed economies saw little productivity growth during the 2000s.


pages: 1,335 words: 336,772

The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance by Ron Chernow

always be closing, bank run, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bolshevik threat, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, British Empire, buy and hold, California gold rush, capital controls, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, corporate raider, Etonian, financial deregulation, fixed income, German hyperinflation, index arbitrage, interest rate swap, margin call, money market fund, Monroe Doctrine, North Sea oil, oil shale / tar sands, old-boy network, paper trading, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, short selling, strikebreaker, the market place, the payments system, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, undersea cable, Yom Kippur War, young professional

., letter to Frances Tracy Morgan, March ?, 1889. 50. Paul G. Pennoyer and Frances Tracy Pennoyer, interview with author. 51. Sinclair, Corsair, p. 115. 52. Ibid., p. 22. 53. Smalley, Anglo-American Memories, p. 230. 54. Josephson, Money Lords, p. 15. 55. Sinclair, Corsair, p. 22. 56. Smalley, Anglo-American Memories, p. 230. 57. NYT, February 19, 1964. 58. TWL, Box 110, Folder 3, memorandum to Robert Gordon Wasson, March 27, 1939. 59. Carosso, Morgans, p. 465. 60. Schacht, Confessions of the Old Wizard, pp. 97–98. 61. Carosso, Morgans, p. 366. 62. Ibid., p. 365 63. Winkler, Morgan the Magnificent, p. 116. 64. Moody, Masters of Capital, p. 29. 65. Leffingwell, Memorial of Charles Steele. 66. SEP, March 12, 1927. CHAPTER FIVE: CORNER 1. Sampson, Money Lenders, p. 60. 2.

Sampson, Money Lenders, p. 65. 68. Jackson, J. P. Morgan, p. 249. 69. Sinclair, Corsair, p. 205. 70. JPMJ, Box 32, cable to J. P. Morgan, Sr., June 23, 1911. 71. SEP, August 26, 1922. 72. NYT, December 16, 1956. Sinclair, Corsair, p. 207. 73. JSM, Extracts of Correspondence—Edward C. Grenfell—Count Maurice de Bosdari, p. 88. 74. RCL, Group 1030, Series I, Box 7, Folder 169, memorandum to Robert Gordon Wasson, February 23, 1945. CHAPTER SEVEN: PANIC 1. JPMJ, Box 31, cable to J. P. Morgan, Sr., March 25, 1907. 2. Ibid., cable from J. P. Morgan, Sr., March 25, 1907. 3. Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, p. 436. 4. Garraty, Right-Hand Man, p. 206. 5. Chandler, Benjamin Strong, p. 28. 6. Sinclair, Corsair, p. 179 7. HLS, Folder 2, notes of Ben Strong about Henry P. Davison. 8.


pages: 586 words: 159,901

Wall Street: How It Works And for Whom by Doug Henwood

accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, central bank independence, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, facts on the ground, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Irwin Jacobs, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, kremlinology, labor-force participation, late capitalism, law of one price, liberal capitalism, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, London Interbank Offered Rate, Louis Bachelier, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, publication bias, Ralph Nader, random walk, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, selection bias, shareholder value, short selling, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, women in the workforce, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

While it's not clear whether that U.S. outperformance is a permanent thing or just a shorter-term cyclical affair, it can't be denied that the old Axis powers experienced extraordinary growth in investment and income during the first 45 years after Wodd War II's end. It may be that as capitalist economies mature, and liquid balances swell, they may tend toward a more fluid style of finance and ownership. irrational expectations Information asymmetry theorists generally assume that market participants are the rational self-maximizers of mainstream theory; they can just never be certain of the knowledge and motives of their counterparts. As Robert Gordon said of the closely related New Keynesian school, "any attempt to build a model based on irrational behavior or submaximizing behavior is viewed as cheating" (quoted in Dymski 1994). While it's safe to believe that financial players are self-maximizers, their rationality is another matter. Academic students of finance have increasingly recognized that lots of old-fashioned impressionistic notions about market volatility may be truer than rationalists could imagine.


pages: 590 words: 153,208

Wealth and Poverty: A New Edition for the Twenty-First Century by George Gilder

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, cleantech, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, equal pay for equal work, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Gilder, Gunnar Myrdal, Home mortgage interest deduction, Howard Zinn, income inequality, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, medical malpractice, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, non-fiction novel, North Sea oil, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, price stability, Ralph Nader, rent control, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, skunkworks, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, volatility arbitrage, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, yield curve, zero-sum game

John Hotson of Waterloo University, also in Canada, developed the idea. Walter Eltis of Oxford University broached it in his important book, written with Robert Bacon, Britain’s Economic Problem: Too Few Producers. It first surfaced in the United States, perhaps, at a conference on inflation and income tax at the Brookings Institution in Washington in 1975. Arnold Lovell of the British Treasury, Vito Tanzi of the International Monetary Fund, and Robert Gordon of Northwestern University all suggested that rising income taxes may be inflationary because workers attempt to keep their after tax earnings constant. Gordon cited studies in the United States indicating that wages rise by one-fifth of any income-tax hike. Lovell referred to the English experience that the rise in wages is much greater with higher levels of inflation and inflationary consciousness among workers.6 Orthodox Brookings economist George Perry then stepped in to keep matters under control.


pages: 497 words: 144,283

Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna

"Robert Solow", 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, digital map, disruptive innovation, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low earth orbit, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, mass immigration, megacity, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Parag Khanna, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

Even as China’s fixed asset growth decreases, the gains from efficient mobility are evident for everyday workers, Alibaba shoppers, and millions of internal tourists and migrants taking advantage of affordable transportation all across the country. The lesson from America’s postwar period and China today is that infrastructure is not a one-off investment but a set of connective arteries to be constantly nurtured. Prominent American economists such as Robert Gordon of Northwestern and Tyler Cowen of George Mason argue that the U.S. economy is plagued by falling productivity gains, poor infrastructure, a technological innovation plateau, declining education standards, and rising inequality; its transportation system remains too slow and inefficient to meet its export targets. And yet, deeper capital investment is the largest source of productivity growth in the U.S. economy.


pages: 636 words: 140,406

The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money by Bryan Caplan

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, assortative mating, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, deliberate practice, deskilling, disruptive innovation, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, experimental subject, fear of failure, Flynn Effect, future of work, George Akerlof, ghettoisation, hive mind, job satisfaction, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, market bubble, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, profit maximization, publication bias, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, school choice, selection bias, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, twin studies, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, yield curve, zero-sum game

Adler, Nancy, Elissa Epel, Grace Castellazzo, and Jeannette Ickovics. 2000. “Relationship of Subjective and Objective Social Status with Psychological and Physiological Functioning: Preliminary Data in Healthy, White Women.” Health Psychology 19 (6): 586–92. Agan, Amanda. 2011. “Non-cognitive Skills and Crime.” IZA Conference Paper. http://www.iza.org/conference_files/CoNoCoSk2011/agan_a6558.pdf. Akerlof, George, William Dickens, George Perry, Robert Gordon, and N. Gregory Mankiw. 1996. “The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 1996 (1): 1–76. Akerlof, George, and Janet Yellen. 1990. “The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 105 (2): 255–83. Akyol, Ahmet, and Kartik Athreya. 2005. “Risky Higher Education and Subsidies.” Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control 29 (6): 979–1023.


pages: 641 words: 147,719

The Rough Guide to Cape Town, Winelands & Garden Route by Rough Guides, James Bembridge, Barbara McCrea

affirmative action, Airbnb, blood diamonds, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, carbon footprint, colonial rule, F. W. de Klerk, ghettoisation, haute cuisine, Maui Hawaii, Murano, Venice glass, Nelson Mandela, out of africa, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Skype, sustainable-tourism, trade route, transfer pricing, young professional

Prestwich Memorial St Andrew’s Sq, cnr Buitengracht St and Somerset Rd • Mon–Fri 8am–6pm, Sat & Sun 8am–1pm • Free • 021 487 2755 The Prestwich Memorial, housed in an elegant modern structure with a facade of Robben Island slate, accommodates 2500 sets of human bones, excavated in 2003, of forgotten and marginalized Capetonians. Many were slaves executed in the vicinity in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The interesting interpretation boards provide accounts of burial practices, historic hospitals in the area and, across one wall, a reproduction of a beautiful panorama of Cape Town, painted by Robert Gordon in 1778. Outside, the Prestwich Memorial Garden exhibits sculptures by homegrown artists, including two mosaic-adorned Rock Girl benches (www.rockgirlsa.org), part of a city-wide scheme to create safe spaces for women and young people. The Walk of Remembrance, created for the 2010 World Cup and renamed from the Fan Walk after Mandela’s death, passes by en route between the train station and Cape Town Stadium.


pages: 562 words: 153,825

Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the Surveillance State by Barton Gellman

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, active measures, Anton Chekhov, bitcoin, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Debian, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, financial independence, Firefox, GnuPG, Google Hangouts, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, job automation, Julian Assange, MITM: man-in-the-middle, national security letter, planetary scale, private military company, ransomware, Robert Gordon, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, standardized shipping container, Steven Levy, telepresence, undersea cable, web of trust, WikiLeaks, zero day, Zimmermann PGP

I recounted this story at length in a 2014 speech marking the fortieth anniversary of the Student Press Law Center, which assisted us in our legal battle. The speech and accompanying slides are available in full on YouTube, https://youtu.be/bSMnfzGyn08. a First Amendment lawsuit: Gellman v. Wacker, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1977. I brought the case with fellow students Craig Snyder and Robert Gordon. Many of the filings and hearing transcripts are available in the Barton Gellman Papers, box 10, Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University. See http://findingaids.princeton.edu/collections/MC262/c011. poison note for my college application file: During my freshman year of college, I obtained a copy from the admissions office. (I had not waived my right under the Buckley Amendment, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, to see my recommendations.)


pages: 486 words: 150,849

Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History by Kurt Andersen

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, always be closing, American ideology, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Burning Man, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, centre right, computer age, coronavirus, corporate governance, corporate raider, COVID-19, Covid-19, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, Erik Brynjolfsson, feminist movement, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, game design, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, High speed trading, hive mind, income inequality, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, Joan Didion, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, mass incarceration, Menlo Park, Naomi Klein, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Picturephone, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, Powell Memorandum, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Seaside, Florida, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, wage slave, Wall-E, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, éminence grise

So our expectation of constant social and cultural change has its roots in the new Enlightenment thinking in which America’s founders and many of its people were steeped. But the country’s birth also occurred simultaneously with an explosion of the materially new as well. You probably imagine, as I did, that the average European’s standard of living gradually improved as the Middle Ages ended in the 1400s. In fact, in the economies of America and Britain, measured by the average person’s share of total production, as the economist Robert Gordon says, “there was virtually no economic growth before 1750.” And that changed only because in the 1760s and ’70s practical large-scale steam engines were perfected, just as manufacturing was being otherwise mechanized. Suddenly life was transformed: the industrial revolution began at the same moment as our Revolution. In fact, one reason Americans fought the war was because the English back home weren’t eager for the colonies to industrialize and had even banned some kinds of manufacturing in America.


pages: 596 words: 163,682

The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind by Raghuram Rajan

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Build a better mousetrap, business cycle, business process, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, data acquisition, David Brooks, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, facts on the ground, financial innovation, financial repression, full employment, future of work, global supply chain, high net worth, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial cluster, intangible asset, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transfer pricing, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working-age population, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

With the frontier expanding more slowly, their growth also slowed. Most economists envisage growth for economies at the frontier as periods of path-breaking innovation (when the key innovations of the technological revolution emerge) followed by steady development and implementation until most of the gains from that innovation have been reaped. Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and Robert Gordon of Northwestern University argue that most of the possibilities of the Second Industrial Revolution had been exhausted by the end of the 1960s.22 For instance, the big innovation that made commercial air travel more attractive than travel by ocean liner was reasonably safe and fast jet planes with pressurized air cabins. During my lifetime, commercial planes have gotten a lot safer and the rides relatively cheaper.


pages: 614 words: 174,226