The Complacent Class

The Complacent Class : The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream

3.63 (1,566 ratings by Goodreads)
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Since de Tocqueville, restlessness has been accepted as a key American trait. Our willingness to move, take risks, and adapt to change have produced a dynamic economy and a tradition of innovation. The problem, according to legendary blogger, economist, and bestselling author Tyler Cowen, is that Americans today have broken from this tradition, working harder than ever to avoid change: moving less, marrying people more like ourselves, and choosing as much as we can based on algorithms that wall us off from anything that might be too new or too different. matches us in love. Spotify and Pandora match us in music. Facebook matches us to about everything else. This "matching culture" brings positives: music we like, partners who make us happy, neighbors who want the same things. We're more comfortable. But, to Cowen, there are significant collateral downsides to this comfort: heightened inequality and segregation, and decreased incentives to innovate and create. The Complacent Class argues this comfort cannot go on forever. We are postponing change, due to our short-term desire for comfort, but this will make inevitable change harder.
The Complacent Class will lead to a major fiscal and budgetary crisis: preposterous rentals for desired cities, worsening segregation, and a lackadaisical work ethic. To avoid this, Americans must stop stagnating and re-embrace restlessness.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 161 x 242 x 23mm | 432g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1250108691
  • 9781250108692
  • 329,123

Review quote

"[The Complacent Class] provides an open invitation for the reader to think deeply." --Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

"'The Complacent Class' is refreshingly nonideological, filled with observations that will resonate with conservatives, liberals and libertarians. ... a useful corrective to the conventional wisdom that American ingenuity, sooner or later, will revive a low-growth economy." --The Wall Street Journal

"One of the most important reads of the new year." --National Review

"Tyler Cowen's blog, Marginal Revolution, is the first thing I read every morning. And his brilliant new book, The Complacent Class, has been on my nightstand after I devoured it in one sitting. I am at round-the-clock Cowen saturation right now."--Malcolm Gladwell

"Tyler Cowen is an international treasure. Endlessly inventive and uniquely wide-ranging, he has produced a novel account of what ails us: undue complacency. No one but Cowen would ask, 'Why Americans stopped rioting and instead legalized marijuana.' He admires risk-taking, and he likes restlessness, and he thinks the United States needs lots more of both. Don't be complacent: Read this book!"--Cass R. Sunstein, Harvard University, and author of #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media

"A book that will undoubtedly stir discussion"--Kirkus

Praise for The Great Stagnation:

"Cowen's book... will have a profound impact on the way people think about the last thirty years."--Ryan Avent,

"Tyler Cowen may very well turn out to be this decade's Thomas Friedman."--Kelly Evans, The Wall Street Journal
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About Tyler Cowen

TYLER COWEN (Ph.D.) holds the Holbert L. Harris chair in economics at George Mason University. He is the author of a number of explanatory and text books as well as writing the most read economics blog worldwide, He has written regularly for The New York Times and contributes to a wide number of newspapers and periodicals.
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Rating details

1,566 ratings
3.63 out of 5 stars
5 16% (246)
4 43% (681)
3 31% (481)
2 9% (135)
1 1% (23)
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