The upside of slow growth

In the new book Fully Grown, economist Dietrich Vollrath argues that the recent spell of moderate growth in the U.S. is a sign of success.

Fully Grown: Why a Stagnant Economy Is a Sign of Success

by Dietrich Vollrath, University of Chicago Press, 2020

In 2016, the distinguished economist Robert Gordon published a landmark tome on the U.S. economy. The Rise and Fall of American Growth looked back admiringly on the explosion in economic output in the decades after the Civil War and lamented the subsequent fizzling out in more recent times. Among contemporary economists, Gordon has become a standard-bearer for those who believe the U.S. economy’s best days are behind it. Now, in the new book Fully Grown, an economics professor at the University of Houston, Dietrich Vollrath, tackles the same issue. But he reaches a very different conclusion. Vollrath believes that the slower economic growth since 2000 should be seen as a badge of honor, and that its main causes are consequences of the economy’s success, not its failure.

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