am 23. September 2013
The Great Stagnation is a small essay on the recent development and possible future of the US and to some extent of all developed Western nations. Cowen lists all the common trouble spots but offers no strategy for or any actual solutions.
Looking back from today Cowen assesses past inventions and their subsequent successful commercialization as low hanging fruit, which to my opinion is misleading. Achieving innovation in the past was as difficult as it is today. Inventions have been made during all centuries all over the planet and it took entrepreneurs to turn those inventions into great innovations that produced income and improved the world we live in. All nations had their share here. But it is also true that great inventive nations can falter and lose their place at the top (e.g. the Roman Empire or China).
All other aliments mentioned by Cowen are those of any Western Nation: education and school curriculum, health care, government involvement.
What is true is that today we have a global market, global competition and a global continuous quest for new products, services and processes.
True is also, that the key for success in today`s postindustrial world today is knowledge and creativity.
All Asian nations have understood this since antiquity (at least since Confucius times) and they know, that and prosperity for the individual lies with social advancement and social advancement can be achieved with higher education aka knowledge.
While even former seemingly great innovative nations like Japan don't offer any answers on the above questions now (and probably never had them) other nations like Korea show some interesting concepts and planning. On a global scale there is no stagnation, only wealth is produced also in some other parts of the world and we have to accept the challenges to stay competitive.
am 28. Juni 2013
This book presents in excellent style and language actual economic and social currents in the US and compares them to former periods in US economic history laying out the origins and the development of the current phase of 'Stagnation'. The author makes a very clear distinction between structural changes in the economic system and our personal everyday impressions highlighting sharply that actual marketing dynamics (like those driven by the internet) only have a small impact on the real economic outcome. This is certainly an eye-opener for people confounding automated service processing with ground breaking innovation. It's a great read because it combines sharp thinking with clear and fluent language for an elegant scientific essay. However, the book offers more an analysis of the current inertia than possible solutions as the author seems to stick with the scientific thinking box of our present time. But his brilliant overview and structural analysis may certainly help to start thinking out of this box - the sooner the better! I can only recommend this insightful lecture.