When you say that the golden days of growth are over, expect to get lots of attention, especially if you’re a prestigious economist. Robert Gordon, a professor at Northwestern University, has been going around for several years making exactly this case. He now has a book, “The Rise and Fall of American Growth,” summarizing his argument in magisterial detail.
Gordon’s main thesis is that the low-hanging fruit of technology has, essentially, been picked. He argues that a small handful of Great Inventions — electricity, the internal combustion engine and a few others — propelled growth to dizzying speeds from about 1870 through 1970.