Thursday, February 17, 2011

David Brooks on Egypt & the Quest for Dignity

I owe this one to Frank Robinson's excellent post on Egypt @ his blog The Rational Optimist. Robinson incorporates insights from Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man (a great source for understanding the Hegelian tradition, Plato, and Nietzsche and which I think has been unfairly maligned), as well as from Brooks. In any event, Robinson and Brooks have reasonable hopes for the Egyptian movement. Societies can improve, and while backsliding does occur, we have reason for hope. I hope that they're both right.

Tyler Cowan & David Brooks: The Great Stagnation

I'm getting two birds with one stone here. I read Tyler Cowan's e-book and being late to review it, I now have the benefit of David Brooks's review. Cowan's argument that we have picked a great deal of the "low-hanging fruit", makes a lot of sense to me. Certainly our economy has changed a great deal, but have I lived through the changes that my parents or grandparents lived through? Personal computers and the internet have changed a great deal, but I don't know if the changes are as profound as those of the period 1850 to 1950.

Brooks makes a good point: our quality of life may have improved, although not our wealth necessarily.

Both sources provide thoughtful commentary on our current position.