Edward Glaeser of The Wall Street Journal takes an inside look at the new book from macroeconomics historian Robert Gordon, "The Rise and Fall of American Growth," which gives insight on America's past and present. 

The book discusses the change in America's economic growth, and whether or not past innovations will be present in the future. Productivity growth in clothes and transportation has slowed down since the 1960s, Gordon notes, because technology has become prominent in America, and has reduced cost by 95%. 

It’s hard to disagree with Mr. Gordon’s observation that “the rise and fall of growth is inevitable when we recognize that progress occurs more rapidly in some time intervals than in others.” 

More generally, the extremely unusual nature of mid-20th-century economic growth raises doubts about whether any public-policy cocktail can rekindle those glory years.

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