Very little of the content of this book has appeared on Marginal Revolution. It contains my thoughts on the death of American restlessness, what is happening with segregation by race and income, how we have become a nation of “matchers,” why crime rates will move up, the ultimate sociological roots of the economic great stagnation, why Steven Pinker is probably wrong about world peace, what we can learn from the riots and violence of the 1960s, why the bureaucratization of protest matters, marijuana vs. cocaine vs. heroin, in which significant way gdp statistics really do under-measure productivity, the importance of cyclical theories of history, and what Tocqueville got right and wrong about America.
And much more! Most of all it is about why the future will be a scary place.
I also am making a special offer for those who pre-order the work. Just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (or my gmail), and tell me you have pre-ordered The Complacent Class, and I’ll send you a free copy of another work by me — about 45,000 words — on the foundations of a free society.
I have been revising this second one for over fifteen years, and it is called Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals. It is finally ready.
You will receive links to an on-line version with images, a pdf with images, and a plain vanilla pdf for Kindle.
In that work, I outline a true and objectively valid case for a free and prosperous society, and consider the importance of economic growth for political philosophy, how and why the political spectrum should be reconfigured, how we should think about existential risk, what is right and wrong in Parfit and Nozick and Singer and effective altruism, how to get around the Arrow Impossibility Theorem, to what extent individual rights can be absolute, how much to discount the future, when redistribution is justified, whether we must be agnostic about the distant future, and most of all why we need to “think big.”
These are my final thoughts on those topics. And to be fair, this is likely to come out someday as a more traditional book, but that will not happen soon as I have not shopped it around to any publisher. So if you pre-order The Complacent Class, you’ll get what is an advance and also free copy of Stubborn Attachments.
From the blurb toThe Complacent Class:
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.Cowen is a mixed bag, you just never know what you are going to get.
The problem, according to legendary blogger, economist and bestelling author Tyler Cowen, is that Americans today have broken from this tradition―we’re 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 “matching culture” brings tremendous positives: music we like, partners who make us happy, neighbors who want the same things. We’re 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 slumber―to embrace their restless tradition again.
My Cowen favorites have been, Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist and An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies.
I was not impressed with The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will( Eventually) Feel Better and Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation, These two seem to contradict each other,
I'll review The Complacent Class when it is out.