Stagnating Wages and Reading Books

Tyler Cowen shared that real wages for private sector employees are stagnating. This means that adjusting for inflation, our purchasing power is decreasing slightly.

Many people I know thought my earlier prediction of “falling or stagnant wages during the U.S. recovery” was an absurd prognostication, but so far it seems to be on the mark.

What I’m wondering is how this dovetails with general well being. Cowen wrote in The Great Stagnation, “Unlike electricity, the internet hasn’t changed everyone’s life, but it has changed a lot of lives, and its influence will be even stronger for the next generation.” Cowen acknowledges that technology has made our lives better and I’m curious as to how this might counter balance falling real wages.

A recent book search brought all this up. The book, A Guide to the Good Life, one I’ve shared multiple times here is available to purchase on  For $10 you can get the Kindle edition and for $4 more you can get the audio book. These two digital editions sync with each other for a uniform reading experience between devices.  One I’ve tried. Alternatively you could get the hardcover for $12 and then the Kindle edition for only $3 more.

Not only all that, but my first introduction to this book was through the public library, but not the building in my county. My library is a member of the Ohio Library System which means they manage a database of all the books in Ohio and I can borrow from any one of them.

How much stagnation exists then?  Fifteen years ago I was limited to my home library and the books on those shelves. If I ventured to a Barnes & Noble I would likely only find the hardcover at a price higher than any of the Amazon combinations.

This is true not just for books, but a lot of media. Consider how much time you spend on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and reading blogs, watching YouTube movies, or taking free online classes.

Someone much smarter than me, like Tyler, will be able to explain how all this works. If there’s a book about it now, let me know, I certainly have some great options for reading it.



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