Saturday, February 19, 2011

Low lying fruit

Fucking Kindle. Yeah, Ok I can download a book in 1 minute, but I still have to read the bally thing.

I spend way too much time reading the online newspapers over the weekend. Last weekend I read an article by Will Hutton. It was a review of a book about the problems with the American economy. Like many people I am reading books about the general crapness of Western economies, particularly as our Tory government seems determined to destroy the British economy.

The title of the book was: The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better.

The basic idea was that the American economy had grown in the twentieth century because America had exploited lots of empty land, immigration of smart people. The author claimed that this was "like picking low lying fruit", because very little effort was required. Now things have stagnated, more effort will be required for economic growth. I think the central metaphor of the book was interesting, but I wasn't convinced by the facts in the book. In fact I probably just needed to read Hutton's summary of the book. (He did make the point that google and twitter, the great hopes for the twentieth century economy, don't employ that many people.)