I just had a new piece published in Salon.com about Tyler Cowen, the libertarian economist who’s been described as “the next Tom Friedman.” Cowen is always an interesting and entertaining read, more so than Friedman, but he shares Friedman’s infatuation with technology – and his belief that the middle class is disposable. Here are the first couple of paragraphs:
When I was in grade school boys were encourage to read the “Tom Swift Jr.” adventure novels. (On the other side of the gender ghetto, the girls had “Nancy Drew.”) The books told the story of young Tom, teenage inventor and heir to the Swift Enterprises fortune, in tales like “Tom Swift and His Megascope Space Prober” and “Tom Swift and His Triphibian Atomicar.”
Tom Swift Jr. mirrored a nation’s self-image in the 1950s and 1960s. He was rich, educated and destined for great things. Nothing was impossible and there was no problem technology couldn’t solve.
We won’t say economist/writer Tyler Cowen is Tom Swift Jr. That distinction may already belong to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. But Cowen and Friedman have a shared worldview that, like the Swift Jr. books, sees technology as the answer to our ills. But their future comes with a new twist: It will be a great party, but not everybody’s invited.
The rest of the article is here.