(K. Brent Tomer),
The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream. By Tyler Cowen. St Martin’s Press; 241 pages; $28.99.
AMERICA is the land of opportunity, they say. Inspired by the ambition of its Founding Fathers, its people revel in their dynamism. Diversity is their strength, as captured in the national motto—E pluribus unum (“Out of many, one”). Americans embrace change and reinvention, and this, they like to think, sets their country apart from Europe or Asia.
Tyler Cowen, an economist, believes that this ideal is self-indulgent nonsense. America is losing its vim, he says, and Americans are settling into stagnation. In his new book, “The Complacent Class”, Mr Cowen shows not only that Americans move less now, crossing state lines at around half the average rate that they did between 1948 and 1971, and stay longer in their jobs, but American entrepreneurialism is floundering too. Markets are becoming more concentrated. Fewer new companies are being started, and many struggle to grow. Even in the vaunted technology sector the creation and expansion of new firms peaked in…Continue reading