In the early 21st century, the pace of US innovation remains hectic in communications, entertainment and information technology. Yet economic output per person is declining as Americans age, and income inequality, educational limitations and US government debt plague the economy. Current slow rates of growth in US labor productivity and economic output can’t compare with the rapid advancements the country enjoyed from 1870 to 1970. Economics professor Robert J. Gordon describes this “special century” – when the electric light, the internal combustion engine, indoor plumbing and the telephone changed virtually every aspect of daily life – in great color and detail, though he sets out to offer few policy prescriptions for improving growth today. getAbstract recommends Gordon’s well-researched statistical gold mine as a valuable economic history lesson for students, professors and investors.
In this summary, you will learn
- Why the US economy grew so quickly from 1870 to 1970,
- How innovations during that century raised living standards, and
- How income inequality and other impediments now hamper improvements to American growth.
About the Author
Robert J. Gordon is a professor at Northwestern University. His books include Productivity Growth, Inflation and Employment and Macroeconomics.
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