American Scribbler on ‘G Force’

Robert Gordon’s book, ‘The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The US Standard of Living since the Civil War’,  of usable historical reconstruction/remembrance, acting here as political nostalgia, for the once great Engine of Capital in America: in the face of the collapse  2008, and the dismal present of an economy geared to the imperatives of the 1%, is reviewed here at The Economist. But what is absent from this book review, and the book itself, in the narrative of the continuing of life of Capital,is the victory of Financialization over the production of goods and services,that have actual value to its civic partners (Yes,civic partners! Producers without customers , in what world?): Capital has devolved into a malfunctioning casino, subject to even greater crises, than a Capital that actually produced something of value. The practice of nostalgia for a vibrant past, as compensatory in the dismal present? Even your still from Chaplin is an implicit reference, comic though it may be, to the person as part of the cogs of industry, an implicit visual critique of atomization that produces alienation. It provides undermining  decoration. Your writer enthuses on Mr.Gordon’s celebratory volume :

‘Anybody who is tempted by this argument should read Robert Gordon’s magnificent new book.’

Yet, the ardor of your writer cools in her/his last paragraph, that points to the drawbacks of  Mr. Gordon’s readable popular history of ‘The Rise and Fall of American Growth’ and  his doubt as to the economic consequences of the ‘IT revolution’:

‘But he goes too far in downplaying the current IT revolution. Where the first half of the book is brilliant, the second can be frustrating. Mr Gordon understates how IT has transformed people’s lives and he has little to say about the extent to which artificial intelligence will intensify this. He also fails to come to terms with the extent to which, thanks to 3D printing and the internet of things, the information revolution is spreading from the virtual world to the physical world. Mr Gordon may be right that the IT revolution will not restore economic growth rates to the level America once enjoyed. Only time will tell. But he is definitely wrong to underplay the extent to which the revolution is changing every aspect of our daily lives.’

American Scribbler

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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