giovedì 2 marzo 2017

The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream by Tyler Cowen

The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream by Tyler Cowen
You have 196 highlighted passages
You have 65 notes
Last annotated on March 2, 2017
Note: 1@@@@@@@@@@@§@§ Edit
Disruption has been the buzzword of the decade.Read more at location 29
wiring of the whole worldRead more at location 29
coming of unprecedented levels of multiculturalismRead more at location 30
reaction to all of that change.Read more at location 31
They have made us more risk averseRead more at location 33
more segregated,Read more at location 33
they have sapped usRead more at location 33
Americans are in fact working much harder than before to postpone change, or to avoid it altogether,Read more at location 35
changing residences or jobs,Read more at location 36
psychological resistance to change has become progressively stronger.Read more at location 37
growing success of the forces for stasis,Read more at location 39
general sense of satisfactionRead more at location 40
growing number of people in our society who accept, welcome, or even enforce a resistance to things new,Read more at location 41
they might even consider themselves progressive or even radicalRead more at location 43
three tiersRead more at location 46
Note: GIÙ Edit
1.  The Privileged Class.Read more at location 47
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usually well educated,Read more at location 48
higher earners,Read more at location 49
They correctly believe their lives are very good, and they want things to stayRead more at location 49
These individuals tend to be tolerant, liberal in the broad sense of that word,Read more at location 50
cosmopolitanRead more at location 52
interest in the cultures of other countries,Read more at location 52
ironically, many of them have become sufficiently insulated from hardship and painful changeRead more at location 52
they are provincial in their ownRead more at location 53
Because they are intelligent, articulate, and often socially graceful, they usually seem like very nice people, and often they are. Think of a financier or lawyer who vacations in France or Italy, has wonderful kids, and donates generously to his or her alma mater. I think of these people as the wealthiest and best educated 3 to 5 percent of the American population.Read more at location 54
2.  Those Who Dig In.Read more at location 57
Note: t Edit
The individuals who dig in are more likely to be of middling station when it comes to income and education. They are not at the top of their professions for the most part, and they may have professional jobs, such as being dentists, or nonprofessional jobs, such as owning small businesses. Still, by either global or historical standards their lives are nonetheless remarkably good, and full of “first-world problems.”Read more at location 57
Note: x I MEDIOCRI Edit
they do not have the luxury of not worrying about money.Read more at location 62
pressures from the costs of housing, health care, and educationRead more at location 62
They hope to hang on to what is a pretty decent life,Read more at location 63
3.  Those Who Get Stuck.Read more at location 66
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Those who get stuck are the individuals who, among other combinations of possibilities, may have grown up in highly segregated neighborhoods, received a subpar education, were exposed to significant environmental toxins like lead paint, have parents who drank in excess or abused opiates, were abused as children, became alcoholics or drug abusers themselves, or perhaps ended up in jail. Their pasts, presents, and futures are pretty bad, and they are not happy about their situations.Read more at location 67
Note: x GLI ULTIMI Edit
Think of a single mom with a poorly paid retail job and no college degree,Read more at location 70
ideological acceptance—a presupposition—of slower change.Read more at location 73
more or less OK with this division of the spoils.Read more at location 74
You might think the group at the bottom cannot possibly be complacent about their situation, but by standards of recent history, indeed they have been when it comes to their actual behavior.Read more at location 75
They have been committing much less crime,Read more at location 76
embracing extreme ideologies such as communism to a smaller degree;Read more at location 77
they have been more disillusioned than politically engaged.Read more at location 78
Ferguson riotsRead more at location 78
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might be signaling an end to this trend,Read more at location 79
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building toward stasis for about the last forty years.Read more at location 79
more and more Americans are entering the upper tier than ever before—itRead more at location 81
a core of about 15 to 20 percent of the American population is doing extraordinarily well,Read more at location 82
There is an ongoing collapse of the middle class, as is often reported in the media, but the underreported upside is that some of the middle class is graduating into the upper class. The bad news, however, is that the accompanying structures are not ultimately sustainable for the broader majority of the population. As overall social and economic dynamism declines and various forms of lock-in increase, it becomes harder to finance and maintain the superstructure that keeps stability and all of its comforts in place.Read more at location 83
most talented of the middle rise to the top,Read more at location 87
other forms of mobility slow down and congeal,Read more at location 87
If they are complaining, what makes them so complacent?Read more at location 93
lack of a sense of urgency.Read more at location 94
comparing it to the 1960s and early 1970s.Read more at location 95
The Watts riots of 1965 put 4,000 people in jail and led to thirty-four killed and hundreds injured; during an eighteen-month period in 1971–1972, there were more than 2,500 domestic bombings reported, averaging out to more than five a day.Read more at location 95
Note: x CFR CON 60 e 70 Edit
today, there is an entirely different mentality,Read more at location 97
in the 1960s and 1970s, not only did riots and bombings happen, but large numbers of influential intellectuals endorsed them,Read more at location 98
Note: t Edit
forces behind the rise of the complacentRead more at location 104
peace and high incomes tend to drain the restlessness out of people.Read more at location 105
revolutionary changes in information technology as of late, big parts of our lives are staying the same.Read more at location 105
less likely to switch jobs, less likely to move aroundRead more at location 106
less likely to go outside the house at all.Read more at location 107
interstate migration rate has fallen 51 percent below its 1948Read more at location 107
The average American is older than ever before,Read more at location 110
There is also much more pairing of like with like,Read more at location 111
segregation by incomeRead more at location 112
The clearest physical manifestation of these ongoing processes of segregation is NIMBY—NotRead more at location 115
Building new construction gets harder and harderRead more at location 116
There is also: NIMEY—Not In My Election Year NIMTOO—Not In My Term Of Office LULU—Locally Undesirable Land Use NOPE—Not On Planet Earth CAVE—Citizens Against Virtually Everything BANANA—Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near AnythingRead more at location 120
Every time a community turns down a new apartment complex or retail development, it limits America’s economic dynamism by thwarting opportunities for those lower on the socioeconomic ladder.Read more at location 126
what has been lost is the ability to imagine an entirely different worldRead more at location 131
social mobility is rather disappointing.Read more at location 133
upward mobility of Americans, in terms of income and education, which increased through about 1980, has since held steady.Read more at location 134
economy is more ossified,Read more at location 135
Two researchers, Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti, estimate that if it were cheaper to move into America’s higher-productivity cities, the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) would be 9.5 percent higher due to the gains from better jobs.Read more at location 136
no one thinks that the building restrictions of, say, San Francisco or New York will be relaxedRead more at location 138
complacent class just doesn’t see building restrictions as an urgent issue,Read more at location 139
In past generations, people moved through the physical world at ever faster speeds,Read more at location 144
today traffic gets worse each year and plane travel is, if anything, slower than before.Read more at location 145
passenger train network is not growing,Read more at location 145
bus lines are being shut down,Read more at location 145
decreasing interest in mastering travelRead more at location 146
colonies in outer space?Read more at location 149
over the last few decades, the interest in those kinds of transportation-based, landscape-transforming projects largely has faded away.Read more at location 152
Elon Musk’s hyperloop plans will remain on the drawing board for the foreseeable future, and the settlement of Mars is yet farther away.Read more at location 152
Urban progress is less transformational and more a matter of making more neighborhoods look and act like the nicer neighborhoods—namely gentrification.Read more at location 153
avoid greater suffering, such as worse traffic,Read more at location 155
cuts in bus service,Read more at location 155
physical world matters no less today,Read more at location 156
We seek to control it, to hold it steady,Read more at location 157
We’re much more comfortable with the world of information,Read more at location 158
The final form of stasisRead more at location 160
we like to stay home and remove ourselves altogether from the possible changesRead more at location 161
Amazon, of course, can provide nearly everything now.Read more at location 162
Prepared meal services such as Hello Fresh will send you all the ingredients you need to make a meal. will come pick up and do your laundry. Need an oil change? Press a button on an app and your oil change arrives a few hours later. Want to watch your kid play little league baseball? You can do that on Apple TV. Americans can literally have almost every possible need cared for without leaving their homes. This is a new form of American passivity,Read more at location 162
Note: x TUTTO DA CASA Edit
demise of a cherished American tradition: car culture.Read more at location 167
Buying one’s first car was once an American rite of passage,Read more at location 167
from Chuck Berry through Bruce SpringsteenRead more at location 168
Driving in a car meant a rhythm, a freedom, and an individualismRead more at location 168
But today, only about half of the Millennial Generation bothers to get a driver’s license by age eighteen; in 1983, the share of seventeen-year-olds with a license was 69 percent. Today, social media and the smartphone are more important both practically and symbolically. Mark Liszewski, executive director of the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum (Hershey, Pennsylvania), remarked: “Instead of Ford versus Chevy, it’s Apple versus Android. And instead of customizing their ride, today’s teens customize their phones with covers and apps. You express yourself through your phone,Read more at location 170
Apart from this shift in mentality, cars are harder to afford for a lot of young people due to sluggish wages and rising college tuition.Read more at location 176
migration of Millennials into larger cities, where Uber, bike lanes, and car-sharingRead more at location 177
joy ride, just isn’t that big a deal anymore,Read more at location 178
future is likely to bring a much greater use of driverless cars,Read more at location 179
THE ROOTS OF THE COMPLACENT CLASSRead more at location 190
Note: t Edit
the early to mid-1980s,Read more at location 191
Note: L INIZIO Edit
many features of the country became nicer, safer, and more peaceful,Read more at location 198
This added social stasisRead more at location 200
slowdown in the rate of technological progress,Read more at location 201
innovation and productivity growth have been relatively slow,Read more at location 203
checking potential lossesRead more at location 205
losing the ability to regenerate itselfRead more at location 209
American “haves,” are pretty happy within that decline.Read more at location 211
Overall, as a nation, Americans are sufficiently happyRead more at location 211
ever-increasing percentage of the federal budget is on autopilot,Read more at location 215
only about 20 percent available to be freely allocated,Read more at location 215
it is harder to have a meaningful debate about how the money should be spent because most of the money is already spoken for,Read more at location 217
quest for ever more guarantees,Read more at location 220
politics becomes shrill and symbolic rather than about solving problems or making decisions.Read more at location 221
most voters have to be content—or not—with the delivery of symbolic goods rather than actual useful outcomes.Read more at location 223
61 percent of all private-sector financial liabilities are guaranteed by the federal government,Read more at location 226
THE NEW CULTURE OF MATCHINGRead more at location 235
Note: t Edit
Americans can use innovative, ever more efficient information technology to slow down the change in many parts of lifeRead more at location 236
evolving technology has turned us into a nation of matchers.Read more at location 239 matches us in love. Spotify and Pandora match our taste in music. Software matches college roommates. LinkedIn matches executives and employees. Facebook helps us reconnect to our past—our old neighbors, our old boyfriends—and more generally even brings us to just the right news and advertisements, or at least what we think is just right.Read more at location 241
rearranging the pieces in the world we already have.Read more at location 247
The great adventures of life, the surprise of strangers, of strangeness, of the electric and eclectic moments of happenstance, and also of extreme ambition, are slowly being removed by code as a path to a new contentment. We are using the acceleration of information transmission to decelerate changes in our physical world.Read more at location 250
Note: x COSA MANCA Edit
Buyers are less likely to be disappointed with their purchases—theyRead more at location 253
consumers are doing better than GDP statistics indicate.Read more at location 254
easier travel and collaboration,Read more at location 255
marriage.Read more at location 257
Note: t Edit
One study from 1932 found that over a third of the people in one part of Philadelphia married someone who lived within five blocks. A more recent study showed that of the couples who married between 2005 and 2012, more than one-third of them met online; for same-sex couples, that figure is almost 70 percent.Read more at location 257
this matching brings a very real collateral downside,Read more at location 262
Note: t Edit
more segregation by income and educational status and indirectly more segregation by raceRead more at location 263
There is also more assortative mating of high earners and high achievers—theRead more at location 265
CALM AND SAFETY ABOVE ALLRead more at location 268
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riots or violent protests, are these days harder to accomplish,Read more at location 269
Americans value civil disobedience less and obsess over safety more.Read more at location 270
police use managerial science and information technologyRead more at location 274
Americans approve or maybe even demand more such control.Read more at location 275
wiser police departments confer with consultants and public relations expertsRead more at location 275
demand for peace and calm and safety is so highRead more at location 279
philosophies and aestheticsRead more at location 280
Note: t Edit
In the 1970s, intellectual, angst-ridden American teenagers noodled over Nietzsche,Read more at location 281
the classic Russian novels of ideas.Read more at location 282
These days Jane Austen is the canonical classic novelist,Read more at location 283
lot of her stories are about … matching.Read more at location 284
less concerned with the titanic struggle of good versus evil—can you imagine Mr. Darcy shouting, as would a Dostoyevsky character, “If there is no God, then everything is permitted!”?Read more at location 285
many colleges and universities is whether to put “trigger warnings”Read more at location 287
That is a far step away from the 1960s, when the battle was over the right to denounce authority, sometimes sliding into outright advocacy of violence, as with the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground.Read more at location 290
In the 1970s, American gay culture was a source of innovation, restlessness, and outright rejection of traditional bourgeois values. Over the last decade, we’ve seen the mainstreaming of many LGBT communities and their incorporation into a very stable and legalistic status quo. As a result, there is certainly more happiness, more equality, and more justice, all good things. Yet gay culture as a driver of radical change—rather than as satisfied contentment—probably peaked in the 1970s and early 1980s, with the evolution of sexual mores and the evolution of disco, house, and other musical forms out of “outsider” gay communities, as well as the Pop Art of Andy Warhol and Keith Haring.Read more at location 292
Note: x GAY CULTURE Edit
The 1960s was also an era that called for greater freedom with drug experimentation.Read more at location 297
American citizens chose the one—marijuana—that makes users spacey, calm, and sleepy.Read more at location 298
LSDRead more at location 299
Note: ... Edit
out of fashion.Read more at location 300
Note: c Edit
drugs that have boomed are the antidepressant medications, including Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin,Read more at location 302
Sharp, who wrote one of the seminal studies of antidepressants, notes that we’re just not that into personal authenticity anymore, and furthermore social media have busted our notion of having a “true self” for the medications to ruin.Read more at location 305
give drugs for schizophrenic and bipolar individuals to disruptive children under five years of age.Read more at location 307
Medication became the accepted answer to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),Read more at location 310
kids are supposed to match the levels of calm and composure we might find in mature forty-seven-year-olds.Read more at location 312
Estimates vary, but according to some, almost 20 percent of American boys and 10 percent of American girls, ages fourteen to seventeen, have been diagnosed with ADHD, yet that concept, with the attention deficit disorder label, wasn’t even formally introduced into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders until 1980, although there were earlier and far more marginal notions of hyperactive and hyperkinetic children.Read more at location 313
In 1965, the most common leisure activity for American kids was outdoor play.Read more at location 321
Note: t Edit
looking at electronic screens, which include televisions, computers, and cell phones.Read more at location 323
In the 1970s, a game called dodgeball—one variation of which was known as bombardment—was popular in American schools. The premise was to throw a hard, inflated ball at the players on the other side with as much force as possible, to see if they could catch it without dropping it. The face and the belly were two popular targets for each hurl, and of course the most fearful and intimidated players had the most tosses sent their way. At least in my elementary school, it wasn’t unusual for a kid to get whacked in the face and leave the playing field crying. I recall my gym coach barking out, “Suck it up, kid!” Flash forward to 2015, when a school district in Washington State bans the game of tag on the grounds of its excessive violence.Read more at location 327
In late 2015, I read of a seventh grader who was told his Star Wars shirt was not allowed in school because it portrayed a weapon, namely, a lightsaber.Read more at location 334
banning football,Read more at location 335
the safest possible activities, most of all homework, and also classifying them more thoroughly through more testing.Read more at location 338
Millennials are not such an entrepreneurial class.Read more at location 342
Americans under thirty who own a business has fallen by about 65 percent since the 1980s.Read more at location 343
John Lettieri, who was a cofounder of the Economic Innovation Group, has argued that “Millennials are on track to be the least entrepreneurial generation in recent history.”Read more at location 345
Even in our vocabularyRead more at location 347
Note: t Edit
moves toward greater safetyRead more at location 347
in spite of a few highly visible examples, such as Uber and AirBnb, disruption in the world of business is down too.Read more at location 350
America is creating start-ups at lower rates each decade,Read more at location 351
The big losers from a lot of these trends are the unskilled men, including those with the less peaceful or more violent inclinations.Read more at location 353
Note: x CHI CI PERDE Edit
chunk of males.Read more at location 355
a “feminized” culture allergic to many forms of conflict,Read more at location 355
postfeminist gender relations, and egalitarian semicosmopolitanism just don’t sit well with many men, most of all those who have no real chance of joining the privileged class.Read more at location 356
men have tendencies toward the brutish,Read more at location 357
They do less well with nice. And eventually they will respond by behaving badly, whether it is at a Donald Trump rally or through internet harassment.Read more at location 359
Note: x REAZIONE Edit
numbers.Read more at location 360
Note: t Edit
Female median wages have been risingRead more at location 360
Note:  Edit
the male median wage, at least as it is measured and adjusted for inflation, was higher back in 1969 than it is today.Read more at location 361
Note: c Edit
greater number of tough manufacturing jobs.Read more at location 364
These men thrived under brutish conditions, including a military draftRead more at location 364
constraining masculinityRead more at location 365
social change will boil over once again,Read more at location 373
Note: FUTURO Edit
Richard Florida,Read more at location 373
America is headed for a “Great Reset.”Read more at location 373
is what happens when you postpone change for too long,Read more at location 374
In medieval times, for instance, the Catholic Church sought to shut down a lot of theological dissent. For a while this worked, but eventually the result was a far-reaching and fundamental process known as the Reformation, which had major political, economic, and religious ramifications for centuries.Read more at location 375
The first very visible indication of the Great Reset was the financial crisis of 2007–2008, which punctured old myths about the efficacy of the American financial system and revealed that the country is on a fundamentally lower path of economic growth.Read more at location 379
major fiscal and budgetary crisis;Read more at location 382
a rebellion of many less-skilled men;Read more at location 384
resurgence of crime;Read more at location 384