The Good News from Tyler Cowen

In his NYT Economic View piece today, economist Tyler Cowen notes the good news:

It may not feel that way right now, but the last 10 years may go down in world history as a big success. That idea may be hard to accept in the United States. After all, it was the decade of 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the financial crisis, all dramatic and painful events. But in economic terms, at least, the decade was a remarkably good one for many people around the globe.

He notes the economic progress made in many areas of the world.  He acknowledges the somewhat painful decade for Americans, but reminds us of some upsides:

Nonetheless, despite the positive news in much of the world, it’s questionable whether the decade as a whole has been good for Americans, economically speaking. Median wages have not risen much, if at all, and the costs of the financial crisis and irresponsible fiscal policies have become increasingly obvious. Those facts support a pessimistic interpretation.

TO put it bluntly, if the United States takes one step back and the rest of the world takes two steps forward, even in purely selfish terms we should consider accepting the trade-off, if only for the longer run. Most of us gain from the wealth and creativity of other countries, even if we can’t always feel like the top dog.

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  • Jim  On January 4, 2010 at 10:55 am

    “Nonetheless, despite the positive news in much of the world…”

    Did he give any examples of the “positive” economic “news in much of the world” that was not driven by the United States? – in other words his assumption of the US taking “one step back” is incorrect without these examples, since the “positive news” is a result of the US taking a LARGE step forward in allowing free markets to distribute activity across the globe. He should think positively!

    “Most of us gain from the wealth and creativity of other countries…”

    Again did he give examples of this creativity? Or was it – as I suspect – a result of the US distributing their wealth and creativity across the globe?

    Your quotations from the article appear quite simplistic to me and I think most in the world still consider us “top dog” and are glad that we are!! Only at the NYT and our Universities is this not the case – “TO put it bluntly…”!

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