The Great Stagnation: Why Hasn’t Recent Technology Created More Jobs?

Why is it that the American economic recovery is moving so slowly and new job creation is low? PBS NewsHour Economics Correspondent Paul Solman takes a critical look at whether America is experiencing an innovation lull, as George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen claims in his new book, The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will(Eventually) Feel Better. Solman spoke with Cowen and to those who say he couldn’t be more wrong – that the nation is brimming with new innovations that will advance our quality of life.

Cowen claims we’ve picked all the ‘low-hanging fruit’ and that current innovations do not produce the same kind of new jobs, advancements and efficiencies in our everyday lives as, say, the washing machine or stove. “This is our central economic problem today,” he said.

Not so, counters MIT’s Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson and others, who insist that the advancements in innovation and technology are making big contributions to markets, businesses, and job functions. “If anything, the rate of change is not slowing down,” Brynjolfsson told Solman. “It’s increasing.”

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