The Complacent Class Summary

Superior Essays
Maxwell Freeman
A02228937
Critical Review of The Complacent Class
Tyler Cowen is an American economist who teaches at George Mason University. His most recent book, The Complacent Class, talks about the forces that have made the United States more static and less risk-taking than ever before. The Complacent Class aims to explain the current economic and social situation of the United States, with Cowen arguing that the US is getting comfortable and avoiding change. He believes that the postponement of change will lead to a major crisis in the near future.
It is obvious that Cowen’s intentions are to educate and warn the reader of the impending doom due to complacency in the present day. Cowen makes some valid points in his argument that are
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Today traffic gets worse each year and plane travel is, if anything, slower than before. The passenger train network is not growing, and bus lines are being shut down…” (Cowen 8). He concludes that Americans aren’t as interested in mastering their mobility through physical space. The reality is that there is better mastery of getting from point A to point B today than ever before. Although traffic is getting worse in major cities and there is a slight decrease in bus transit, more money than ever is being spent on public transit. “In 2015, consumer spending on public transportation exceeded $100 billion in the US for the first time ever” (Hickman). Airplane flight times are longer because airlines realized that they could reduce fuel costs by flying slower (Morris). There are many reasons that Americans don’t ride trains much, some of which are that the US is very large and the population density in many areas is not high enough for a train to make sense. Many passenger railways share tracks with freight trains, leading to major delays (The Economist). However, in major cities, light rails are becoming more popular. The claim that Americans aren’t interested in getting better at mobility is just plain false. More money than ever is being spent on public transit, airlines are saving in fuel costs, and trains are being implemented where it makes financial sense …show more content…
In terms of economics, this is an allocation of finite resources. Certain groups of people are willing to pay more to live in desirable areas than other groups are, and both groups benefit from the buying and selling (trade) of the property. Although much of what Cowen said didn’t resonate with me, he did have points that are worth remembering. The first is that prosperity drains the restlessness out of people. I believe this to be true, and have experienced first-hand the restlessness of people that want to desperately escape their economic situation. The second is that when people move, self-transformation occurs. After moving out to Utah for school, I have found myself changing as a person much more than expected. The Complacent Class is not worth your time to read. I would recommend that Cowen uses more facts to support his claims and takes time to make his argument more focused and less scattered. A number of factless, skewed claims take away from the underlying message of the book and the valid points he makes. With revisions, this book could be worthwhile as the message offers a unique perspective on the current economic and social situation of the United

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