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Americans an Economic Record : An Economic Record - Stanley Lebergott

Americans an Economic Record

An Economic Record

Paperback Published: 17th May 1984
ISBN: 9780393953114
Number Of Pages: 560

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Brief, dense, topical chapters of American economic history (#26 Immigration, #27 Technology and Innovation, #28 Urban Growth) - with the common theme, says Wesleyan historian Lebergott, of centrality of choice. What mostly comes across, however, is a warm glow about America's economic achievements. The native Indian population, according to Lebergott, needed enormous land per capita to make a go of it, and even then managed only a meager income. The Europeans, by contrast, made the private farm a going concern. Thereafter, save for a few setbacks, it was upward and onward. Independence was desired for political rather than economic reasons, though the Revolutionary War did have important consequences for economic development and redistribution. Debt was a big problem for the new nation, but the Louisiana Purchase facilitated borrowing; and once Yankee ingenuity caught hold, economic growth followed. The separate chapters, stocked with statistical tables and other spot-facts, will be comprehensible only to readers who know the material - the very readers who don't need this kind of summary-treatment. Thus, the twelve pages devoted to "Technology and Innovation" take up the idea of planned obsolescence; post-Civil War advances - by unskilled amateurs and newly-professionalized engineers; cost-cutting innovations; the declining cost of capital, and increase in capital investment; deterrents to using the new technology; the specific case of electricity; and - in the last 2O pages - four separate electrical "revolutions." On capital investment: "Wage rates and land prices actually rose, as shown in table 27.4. How is it possible, then, to say that costs fell? The answer turns on the declining cost of the third major input: capital. Its two major components were foregone interest (on the money locked up in machine or building) and depreciation (representing the using up of the machine over its useful life), both shown in Table 27.5." And so on - as if someone who needed to have "depreciation" defined could make productive use of tables or put all this together. Altogether: a celebration of the American economic experience, combined with much factual minutiae - indigestible, but probably destined to be an assigned text. (Kirkus Reviews)

ISBN: 9780393953114
ISBN-10: 0393953114
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 560
Published: 17th May 1984
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.6 x 15.5  x 3.3
Weight (kg): 0.77
Edition Number: 1