Could America’s problem be not the lack of frontiers, but the stifling effect of too many bureaucrats?
May I suggest a counter-thesis to Tyler Cowen’s Great StagNation? Granted, America already has all the washing machines and cars and government schools we need. But what if at least one of those items is ready to be replaced with a much better model? What if the slowness of “developed” nations is due to the strangling effects of too much government?
I have a grandson, a second-generation home-schooler, who tested at the 18th grade level in math. His other scores were also quite impressive. He was only 9 years old at the time. Many other home-schoolers are starting college as young as 12 years of age – at a time when many graduates of government school can only read at a 7th grade level.
What if government schools – and numerous other government agencies – are actually holding us back? What if millions of eager young students could be liberated from those constraints?
Developing economies, such as India, Brazil, and China do not merely produce vast quantities of washing machines and cars; they also produce vast quantities of innovation. India, for example, has numerous parent-funded schools which are experimenting with inexpensive ways to educate children, while the United States innovates in ways to double and redouble the cost of education. China has open-source hardware Shanzhai shops. America creates innovative ways to strangle invention.
America seems to have reached the stage of bureausclerosis; its only growth industry is bureaucracy. Can we choose no other path?