The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World
When the economy is doing poorly, people “cocoon” and turn to less expensive pleasures. But rather than surrendering to the recession, what can we do to empower ourselves and create a better life? Are new digital information technologies of any real use? How can we use them to advantage?
Renowned behavioral economist Tyler Cowen elucidates a new way forward in today’s economic climate. In Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World, Cowen gives his astute and thought-provoking take on how we can harness technology, embrace multitasking, and open our minds to “neurodiversity” in order to create our own happier, richer personal economies.
In this book, Cowen takes a look at current technology—social networking, digital music, micro blogging, smart phones, etc—and shows how these things allow us to better educate ourselves, keep in touch with our loved ones, and even help us develop richer personal identities. Cowen argues, for example, that sending cell phone texts can actually open emotional doors, allowing us to communicate feelings that we might feel uncomfortable expressing in person or writing in a longer format. Social networking, for another example, allows us much more daily intimacy with others than we might otherwise have; programs like Facebook and iTunes also help us cultivate and share niche interests.
Create Your Own Economy also highlights a burning issue in our national debate: autism. Appreciating “neurodiversity,” or the range and depth of people’s various cognitive abilities, is now more important than ever. Cowen argues that we should not define autism in terms of its impairments. Instead, we should recognize and even emulate the cognitive strengths of people with autism. “We’ve had far too much of diagnosis and far too little of simply considering what keen, specialized perception and mental ordering bring to society as a whole,” writes Cowen. “In fact, mainstream society is already reaping benefits from mimicking autistic cognitive strengths.”