Thursday, September 06, 2012

While not watching the conventions

I have enjoyed all of Brink Lindsey's books and can say the same about his new Human Capitalism: How Economic Growth Has Made Us Smarter--and More UnequalHe shows how U.S. economic dynamism has collided with what he calls cultural "stickiness".  This means that many are able to respond to incentives (high paying work in "new economy" sectors) and  thrive, but many others are unable or unwilling to respond.  The latter fall further behind.  The old "leisure class" were those at the top.  The new "leisure class" are those stuck at the bottom.  

Lindsey's concluding chapter ("Reforming Human Capitalism") argues for his favorite policy antidotes.  They are: "Maintain Economic Growth by Encouraging Entrepreneurship", "Reform K-12 Education by Unleashing Competition", "Compensate for Disadvantaged Environments through Early Childhood Interventions", "Combat Social Exclusion of Low-Skilled Adults", "Improve Higher Education by Limiting Tuition Subsidies", "Remove Regulatory Barriers to Entrepreneurship and Upward Mobility". In each case he cites recent research that supports these ideas.

Perhaps it is not a good idea read about all this while the political conventions are on TV.  Neither party's platform comes close to policies like the ones Lindsey suggests.  In fact, the platforms and speeches can be read as roadmaps for avoiding them.

This morning's WSJ includes a review ("The Grievance Brigades ... The most traditional branches of Western learning have been replaced by disciplines designed to serve radical political ends") of Bruce Bawer's The Victim's Revolution (which I have not yet read).  Perhaps I'll pass on that discussion.  Better to watch re-runs of political convention highlights on YouTube.