People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent | Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero | The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium | Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals | Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals | Leadership Ethics | The Great Stagnation | Average Is Over
A wide-ranging, against-the-grain argument about the state of American cultureâthe Washington Post and Wall Street Journal bestseller--now in paperback with new material
"Tyler Cowen's blog, Marginal Revolution, is the first thing I read every morning. And his brilliant new book, The Complacent Class, has been on my nightstand after I devoured it in one sitting. I am at round-the-clock Cowen saturation right now." âMalcolm Gladwell
Since Alexis de Tocqueville, restlessness has been accepted as a signature American trait. Our willingness to move, take risks, and adapt to change have produced a dynamic economy and a tradition of innovation from Ben Franklin to Steve Jobs.
The problem, according to legendary blogger, economist and best selling author Tyler Cowen, is that Americans today have broken from this traditionâweâre working harder than ever to avoid change. We're moving residences less, marrying people more like ourselves and choosing our music and our mates based on algorithms that wall us off from anything that might be too new or too different. Match.com matches us in love. Spotify and Pandora match us in music. Facebook matches us to just about everything else.
Of course, this âmatching cultureâ brings tremendous positives: music we like, partners who make us happy, neighbors who want the same things. Weâre more comfortable. But, according to Cowen, there are significant collateral downsides attending this comfort, among them heightened inequality and segregation and decreased incentives to innovate and create.
The Complacent Class argues that this cannot go on forever. We are postponing change, due to our near-sightedness and extreme desire for comfort, but ultimately this will make change, when it comes, harder. The forces unleashed by the Great Stagnation will eventually lead to a major fiscal and budgetary crisis: impossibly expensive rentals for our most attractive cities, worsening of residential segregation, and a decline in our work ethic. The only way to avoid this difficult future is for Americans to force themselves out of their comfortable slumberâto embrace their restless tradition again.
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