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Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  53 ratings  ·  8 reviews
In this book, Nobel Prize-winning economist Edmund Phelps draws on a lifetime of thinking to make a sweeping new argument about what makes nations prosper--and why the sources of that prosperity are under threat today. Why did prosperity explode in some nations between the 1820s and 1960s, creating not just unprecedented material wealth but "flourishing"--meaningful work, ...more
Hardcover, 378 pages
Published August 25th 2013 by Princeton University Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Fred Johnson
The central premise of this book, if not particularly novel, is that innovation is the driver of economic growth. The surge in economic growth since the early 1800’s is a result of modern values to “create, explore and meet challenges”. I had thought that was generally accepted, but perhaps not yet in the economics literature.

The book has two major failings. First, the author inadequately explains why innovation took off. To stress the significance of a shift to “modern values” calls for a discu
Brian Gatz
So we've got an author here who's concerned with vitality. Here's how to see it: 1. every person has a moral right to seek his or her fulfillment 2. a real life comes only through one's own endeavors 3. individual enterprise should trump rent-seeking 4. imagination springs from observation and ideas. --These four ideas form the crux of the Enlightenment; the value of which lets an economy becomes what it's supposed to become.

Conservatism, in the form of socialism or corporatism, the kind that p
It's a difficult book. A complex, dense, read. It is very ambitious in its attempt to connect cultural attitudes and values to economic performance. Or, as Phelps would put it, to economic "dynamism". I am not sure that precise connection is always very well argued nor rigourously established in the book. Yet one instinctively gets Phelps' message. The book is also difficult because its conclusion is difficult to bear: the West has lost its drive to innovate, including the US. Traditionalist ide ...more
Dec 01, 2013 Steve added it
Great book, I think both the right and the left will find something to hate here.
This is a stimulating work about the rot causes of slower growth in the 'western' world. My own pessimistic favourite, that convergence by the rapidly emerging economies partly takes the form of some losers emerging among the advanced economies' industries, does not come into play.

Modernism, which features a relentless request to innovate, to seek the new, to try something different, whether in busines or art or whatever endeavour, is contrasted with traditionalism and with socialism and corpora
Peter Foley
I missed a lecture by Edmund Philps at Rotman and committed to read his book. I liked the idea of grassroots innovation creating jobs, challenge and change, as he puts it.

Mass Flourishing is well structured in positioning economic dynamism as the context for innovation and resulting overall wage growth that occurred remarkably in the late 19th century and into the mid 20th century. And, that has experienced stagnation, if not decline, in the last forty years.

Phelps proposes that the “good life”
Steve Stanton
This is a detailed and somewhat dry history of economic philosophy by a Nobel laureate that will be of value to students in the field. Misguided ideas and harmful policies have led to a continuing worldwide slowdown in growth, as the steadily increasing burden of social entitlement outstrips gainful employment. Edmund Phelps points to the need for a new economic model that will provide both dynamism and social justice.
Robert Giambo
An economics book by nobel winner, discusses why some cultures flourish and others don't. I found some chapters very interesting and informative - others were just boring. Also focus was very America/Europe focused. For example, no discussion of how China was able to change their economy so relatively quickly. Such a discussion might either support or contradict the main arguments of the author.
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