Tom MacWright

Tom MacWright

I read The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All The Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better by Tyler Cowen on


For pop-economics, this is an interesting and unusual read. It doesn’t swing predictably Republican, Democratic, or other, and it’s on a refreshingly more macro level than the ‘random walk’ trend. Where other writers lean toward character judgments of the rich or the poor, Cowen tries to present the problem as more deeply-embedded, as a cyclical slowdown in mankind’s progress itself.

He is oddly dismissive of the internet as a technology. It’s true that job creation has revenue on the internet has been limited, but the examples in this book are thin and the language, which is otherwise nice and balanced, distills the internet down into a “fun” fad. His focus is heavily on media companies on the internet - wouldn’t be more interesting to compare, say, Amazon to Wal-Mart?

All in all, it’s a worth a read and I appreciate the pacing and brevity - it feels exactly as long as it should be.