For all its problems, the long 20th century granted enormous prosperity to billions of people: cellphones, white-collar jobs, the birth-control pill, penicillin, space exploration, home appliances, electric grids, the internet. If, as DeLong claims, a remarkable period of prosperity has ended, then governments face the enormous task of strengthening representative democracy, reallocating the world’s immense resources more equitably, and reigniting productivity growth.
Even when someone explains how Capitalism – by which we mean free market versions thereof – is the hero we still end up with the answer that now it isn’t and everything must change.
The problem with this being that we could have said that in 1871, 1921, 1951 and so on. And, in fact, many people did in all those years and many others. And all of them were wrong. So there’s a certain burden of extraordinary proof required for it to be 2022 when it actually is so.
BTW, DeLong isn’t stupid enough to think that the prosperity has ended. He’s arguing that it’s not going to get better as fast as it used to. That’s the journalist’s mistake there.