Is Slow or No Economic Growth the New Normal for the United States?

In the below TED talk, economic growth skeptic, Robert Gordon, explains his views:


His vision is certainly a splash of cold water on the Ray Kurzweil’s of this world. But I’m impressed by neither the assumptions he makes nor the evidence he marshals. For example, I think he vastly underestimates the impact that biotechnology and energy efficiency technologies are likely to make on economic growth. Indeed, he doesn’t even mention them.

J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley, writing in the most recent issue of Foreign Affairs, also offers a bleak economic forecast:

[T]he U.S. economy is worse than “frail,” and there are few signs that it is being nursed “back to health.” Most economists claim at least one silver lining in the economic downturn: that it was not as bad as the Great Depression. Up until recently, I agreed; I even took to calling the episode “the Lesser Depression.” I now suspect that I was wrong. Compare the ongoing crisis to the Great Depression, and there is hardly anything “lesser” about it. The European economy today stands in a worse position compared to 2007 than it did in 1935 compared to 1929, when the Great Depression began. And it looks as if the U.S. economy, when all is said and done, will have faced certainly one lost decade, and perhaps even two.

Despite the Jeremiahs, I feel oddly optimistic. But time will tell.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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