BLOG: What's wrong with the economy?

Tom Jackson
Nov 23, 2011

Why is the economy so bad?

I'm not referring just to the Great Recession, which has supposedly ended, but to a longer term trend. Why isn't the economy working well for people who aren't rich?

The usual answer from political discourse is that it's the fault of liberals, or the fault of conservatives. Politicians tend to stick to political talking points in giving the answer: It's the fault of free trade treaties, or it's the fault of too much taxation.

Two new books, written by economists for general audiences, attempt to go a little deeper and discuss structural reasons for the bad economy.

Tyler Cowen, who writes at the Marginal Revolution blog, is the author of The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All of the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better.

Cowen argues that from 1880 to 1940, there were a series of dramatic technological breakthroughs, including electricity, cars, electric lights, radio, airplanes, the telephone, the record player, and indoor plumbing. These inventions helped create many new industries. There hasn't been comparable innovation in recent years, Cowen says, although excitement over the Internet has tended to obscure that.

Cowen also argues that America no longer has free land to generate economic growth and that improvement in the public school system apparently ended in the 1960s.

Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McFee, says that many workers have been thrown out of work because machines can do their jobs more cheaply. (A familiar example would be the way machines have replaced many bank tellers and people who run cash registers.)

This trend is accelerating as computers become exponentially more powerful and are able to take on many new tasks, the authors say.

Both books are $4 as electronic editions from Amazon.

Cowen discusses the two books here. A debate between the authors of the two books may be viewed here (about 35 minutes long).

 

Comments

coasterfan
Fox News Viewers Know Less Than People Who Don't Watch Any News: Study

www.huffingtonpost.com

Fox News viewers are less informed than people who don't watch any news, according to a new poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
goofus

Huffington Buffington Post? you gotta be kidding! They better hurry up and print more junk before they go bankrupt, oh wait a minute, Obozo will probably bail them and the NYT out LMAO!!!!

6079 Smith W

@coasterfan:

And people who read the Huffington-Puffington Post are economic and political illiterates.

AOL regrets that it bought it. It was a poor business decision.

Many writers left after it was purchased. LOL.

"As it turns out, not paying people is what had attracted AOL to Huffington in the first place."

http://www.ericdsnider.com/snide/leaving-in-a-huff/

 

The conclusions of the "study" were based on knowledge concerning the current state of affairs in Syria and Egypt? ROFLMAO!!!! What a crock of caca.

I'm more interested in what's goin' on in Greece.

The wealthy are hiding their money:

http://www.businessinsider.com/this-is-where-rich-greeks-are-hiding-all-their-money-2011-11

 

goofus

PB&J is that like the kids today playing soccer and not keeping score like they do today? The problem of today is too much regulation. Surivival of the fittest is still one of the prerequisites to living in today's world. I guess your blogging leads to the fact your ancestors weren't dinosaur food,darn it!!!

goofus

How can you keep up with the state of affairs in Syria and Egypt when it changes by the minute. I really don't think a progressive could find either one on a map!!!!! By the way one and a half allies are now our enemys thanks Barry!!!!

6079 Smith W

@ goofus:

H*ll! I'd wager that the majority of Americans couldn't find Egypt and Syria on a map. Is Geography still taught in U.S. schools?

Perhaps Mr. Obama should begin a new MidEast apology tour?

Who the @#$% cares about Syria and Egypt? There are others that the U.S. should be more concerned about.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is over 300 lbs, diabetic and 87 yrs. old.

Watch for a very strong possibility of a revolution and a disruption of one of our major oil suppliers after he goes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdullah_of_Saudi_Arabia

How informed are "regressives" like coasterfan on this? :)

 

The Big Dog's back

 Don't you  2 (winnie, goofus) have something else better to do today than to spread more hate mongering?

pntbutterandjelly

@ Smith;

Often, sometimes very often, your comments, in reality, echo my own. The problem, however, is that you fail to see the comparisons. Too little or too much regulation does cause problems. What we are facing today is "too much regulation FOR the elite wealthy". That shadow crowd makes the rules through any means they can. If that means changing, adding or deleting existing regulations that favors them....so be it! In the mean time they also create additional rules, laws and regulations for those not in their circle. Hence, "too many regulations" as totuted by some. It's the imbalance and the tactics use in the name of "free enterprise" that is unfair, infuriating and for those who don't understand the difference(s). It is a philosophical/monetary war between Americans. Some are fortunate via hard work and truly fair play, some who are fortunate to have ample via ill-gotten/unfair means and the vast majority of the rest.

Get the money out of elections and governmental influence and the process will then have the opportunity to right the ship for all the right reasons. 

pntbutterandjelly

Now.............

let's go eat some turkey!!!!

6079 Smith W

@ pntbutterandjelly:

As long as the bureaucrats print and distribute the currency of the relm, your "get the money out" proposition is and will remain unworkable.

Using gold and perhaps silver as means of exchange makes it much more difficult for the political ruling class to game the system.

But that ain’t gonna happen either except by default after the almost inevitable fiscal and economic collapse.

Gold is increasingly becoming a defacto second alternative to the U.S. dollar.

I prefer the ETF (GLD).

 

pntbutterandjelly

@ Smith: I agree that our currency is nothing more than a caveat currency (backed by "0") but.....I was refering to only the money plowed into the election process and other ways its influence tips the scales of democratic rewards towards a few rather than (as supposedly designed for) the masses who are actually the pillars of that same democratic system.

So much has changed in my lifetime that reaps negative results for our country as a whole and "yes" one of those was coming off the gold standard. I also agree with you in so much as "good luck getting that chnged back". BUT...it can be done. Most likely correct, large scale changes can not be made soley by our individaul votes but...it is a possibility. Barring that sceanario we still do have, to some rapidly dimiinishing degrees, the capability of showing our displeasure with peaceful and demonstrative actions. Barring that...there are only two remaining alternatives. "A" being "by force" and "B" by giving up. I will make efforts via the former three but not entertain the 4th.

Smith...you know as well as I (and many, many others) there is definately something "wrong" with our country, its governance and the direction it is heading. Now...all we bottom feeders need to get involved with the attempt to bring back what we all knew and loved about OUR country. I know that I am using what available resources (including time) I have at my disposal to help straighten out the mess. "Failure" is not a sin but "lack of effort" is.

Here is a small glimpse of my bio (for what it is worth); 60 year old, caucasion male, high school only education with a supposed I.Q. of 117, former construction worker/antique dealer/newspaper article contributor, re-oragnized the local J-C chapter, father of two (one being an adopted foreign baby), current owner of three different small, local businesses, member of a local tourism council, own a home in north-central Ohio and another in Florida, conservative w/progressive bent (centrist/Independent) political views and respectful of others' religions, lifestyles, viewpoints, mental capabilties and gender preferances. I am intolerant of stupidity, bullying and, arrogance. I consider myself a; warrior,  country gentleman, healer, realist and somewhat of a visionary. I am well-rounded, fairly well read, and seek truth, understanding, love, growth and helping others.

Now then...."who" are you?

eriemom

 BPJ:

Smith has stated in past posts that he moved from Texas to Norwalk to take care of elderly parents. He spends an inordinate amount of time posting on the Sandusky Register, Norwalk Reflector, and other sites, at all hours of the day and night. I always wondered if he got caught up in Global Crossing or Enron and had to move back in with his parents. My guess is that he is either a trader or in insurance. The later because of his over reaction to what he refers to as Obama Care.

He sites Wikipedia regularly, but I would bet that he doesn't know that the wiki is a not-for-profit organization, that depends on donations for its existance. Yet, I would also bet that he doesn't donate.

The only other citations that I can remember have come from the Drudge Report, The Wall Street Journal, FOX, or Washington Post. Most often these are opnion articles that are linked to all libertarians. I have often wondered if he reads them, because they are usually taken out of context.

His screen name, Smith Winston-Smith W, is from the George Orwell's 1984.

 

Winston Smith is a fictional character and the protagonist of George Orwell's 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The character was employed by Orwell as an everyman in the setting of the novel, a "central eye ... [the reader] can readily identify with".[1] Winston Smith works as a clerk in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth, where his job is to rewrite historical documents so they match the constantly changing current party line. This involves revising newspaper articles and doctoring photographs—mostly to remove "unpersons," people who have fallen foul of the party. Because of his proximity to the mechanics of rewriting history, Winston Smith nurses doubts about the Party and its monopoly on truth. Whenever Winston appears in front of a telescreen, he is referred to as "6079 Smith W". (Wikipedia)

 

goofus

PB&J forgort seminar blogger in (his) biography. LOL Conservative progressive? Why are people on the left so scared as to run away from the word which so describes them, LIBERALS!!!! PB&J you are what you are and it's not that hard of a word to spell LIBERAL. Stay tuned for my bio coming as soon as I can make it up ROFLMAO.

PB&J, you left out your charitable gifts and to whom you donate all your money. I personally support HHH. Habitat for Homeless Hookers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

goofus

Here's the latest on PB&J's vaunted OWS

http://biggovernment.com/jjmnolte/2011/10/28/occupywallstreet-the-rap-sheet-so-far/

All events listed are backed up in local news media when you click on it. Fine upstanding role models for the liberal cause.

eriemom

 goofus:

How many times do you plan to load that same link? The "take a bath" and "get a job" posts are getting more attention than you want. At least, from the 99% that understand that there are no jobs to be had that will keep you from being homeless, or raise a family.

 

6079 Smith W

@ pntbutterandjelly:

I allow my words to speak for themselves; personal aspects as to: Who, what, when, where, why and how are large irrelevant.

The idea of removing money from politics is a chimera. It's been attempted through innumerable pieces of legislation on the fed, state and local level for over one hundred yrs. with little success.

Thinking that just one more piece of legislation will "cure" it is a fool's errand.

Read up:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campaign_finance_reform_in_the_United_States

 

eriemom

 Smith: Which chimera are you refering to? A mythological being with body parts from two different animals, such as a goat and human? An animal produced by the fertilization of two non-identical zygotes, which fuse? Or, the DNA chimera that is produced through the crossing over of alleles?

6079 Smith W

eriemom writes:

"Smith has stated in past posts that he moved from Texas to Norwalk to take care of elderly parents."

Inaccurate like the majority of your nonsense.

About all I care to know about you is: Are you still an omnivore and a global warming believing hypocrite?

You really should read "Nineteen Eighty-Four." With your strong desires for centralized planning and authoritarianism, you'd undoubtedly side with the character O'Brien.  

 

Factitious

Cowan writes from an old economy perspective that underappreciates contemporary technology's impact on productivity gains and new products, as well as unsustainable population growth, natural resource depletion and pollution. "Just be patient and everything will be OK." Right. It's not a very good book.

Race Against the Machine is much closer to the mark and worth the read but seems to focus on just one dimension of our malaise. To fully understand the situation, one must understand not just the impacts of technology, but those of unsustainable population growth, natural resource depletion and pollution.
 

 

goofus

Gee, Eriemom certainly is on a roll, I wonder if somebody defecated in her Wheaties or she is saddened about the newest e mail collection from her hero global warming "scientists' and the onset of climate gate redux. By the way, I don't work and in no danger of being homeless. And are you calling OWS'ers homeless derelicts?

eriemom

 goofus: The latest collection of emails were hacked at the same time as the first goup that was taken--out of context, and vindicated. There is a rumor floating around that Rupert is involved with email hacking here, just as he is in the UK. Care to respond?

I didn't state that you were homeless. When are you headed south? 

I also didn't call the OWSers derelicts.

On a roll? No, just have time to respond. I cooked enough food yesterday to feed an army. I won't fly back out until next weekend.

pntbutterandjelly

@ Goofus and Smith;

Both of you derilicts are not worth discussing anything with. Hence...any replies or posts from the two of you are will be ignored by myself and I would hope by others. You two have repeatedly proved yourselves to be completely inept at carrying out meaningful conversations let alone sane ones. The two of you are also what is wrong with this country and for the most part...humanity. Have you two ever considered therapy? There is an obvious need.

So....Eriemom....what shall you and I discuss?  Politics? Weather? The economy? Name your poison.

goofus

Eriemom, if there are no jobs to be had, how can you explain the lower unemployment rates in other states and even counties?

goofus

Oh the humanity!!!! Just keep ignoring the facts and truth there PB&J. I am not a derelict, I've never been to an OWS site!!!

kURTje

Kinda funny & sad all at the same time.            Listened & watched as many blo-rods gleefully celebrated DECENT paying jobs leave America.                Now our tax base is lower, many do more with less -  while many see  prices increase.                         The result is clear.     This stuff hits all of us.

6079 Smith W

@ pntbutterandjelly:

Quite a nitwitted rant.

Money in politics?

"Which super PAC has spent the most on independent expenditures so far this year, and which candidate did the super PAC spend most heavily against?"

"The answer is House Majority PAC, the Democratic super PAC backed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)."

 http://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/detail.php?cmte=C00495028&cycle=2012

 

 

6079 Smith W

@ pntbutterandjelly:

Also, the financial meltdown was even worse than Congress and the WH knew.

Bloomberg had to sue to get the info.

"The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.":

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-28/secret-fed-loans-undisclosed-to-congress-gave-banks-13-billion-in-income.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/bank-bailouts-2011-11-27

 

And, the Fed is getting ready to buy $545B in mortgage backed securities in order to help keep the housing bubble inflated:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-27/bond-dealers-see-fed-buying-545-billion-of-home-loan-debt-in-third-easing.html

Your tax dollars at work.

 

 

 

 

Wf323ee723

Maybe we should put quotation marks around the phrase “Button Fly” on the title? Duplicity in definitions, simple and with right touches to humor, intrigues, and attention, we could all imagine how Stefan Sagmeister explained the concept behind the poster in Austrian accented English. A part of the 2010 marketing campaign for Levi’s 501, the “Button Fly” poster featured a giant common house fly in mosaic with none other than Levi Strauss & Co. buttons, large and small. The poster won the top honors at the prestigious International Poster Biennale in Warsaw, as well as the Grand Prize at the Taiwan International Graphic Design Awards. Truly a picture speaks a thousand words…

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