The End of Growth, Or to Quote Bette Davis, "Fasten Your Seatbelts, It's Going to Be a Rocky Ride."

So there’s a fascinating, if decidedly gloomy, piece in the NY Times today, about one economist’s challenging paper that argues the U.S. (and other industrialized nations) are in store for a dramatic decline in growth, here. The most interesting part of the argument comes at the end, when he notes that both presidential candidates can’t really address this enormous problem head-on, for the obvious reasons that they would then be seen as Debbie Downers, but his analysis of the Republicans and Mitt Romney sound fairly sinister (or, some would argue, practical, though sometimes practical can be sinister, too).
But I’ve realized some of this argument without ever having read (or even heard of) Robert Gordon’s paper. Haven’t we all? Don’t the campaign promises to bring home a chicken in every part, two cars in every garage sound a little suspect now? Of course we have to update those notions of prosperity: Two iPhones in every home? A plasma TV in every den? What does that say about us?
In the much-dissected first debate, Obama did seem tired and a bit worn down, for good reason: He’s facing problems, like all presidents do, but his come at what may very well be a crucial turning-point in history, when our expectations are too high for a return to historical levels of growth, i.e., money-making. Romney came across as a convincing car salesman, assuring us all that if we buy his model, we’ll not only go faster, but we’ll do it in style, and look better, feel better, as we do. What a bunch of hokum.

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