Human Capitalism: How Economic Growth Has Made Us Smarter — and More Unequal

(Princeton University Press e-book, 2012)

Book Forum
October 25, 2012 12:00PM
Hayek Auditorium
Featuring the author Brink Lindsey, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; with comments by Reihan Salam, Policy Advisor at Economics 21, Columnist for Reuters Opinion, and Contributing Editor at National Review Online; moderated by David Boaz, Executive Vice President, Cato Institute.

The rise of economic inequality over the past generation has become a hot-button issue. In this e-book Cato senior fellow Brink Lindsey offers a fresh new interpretation of the growing class divide along educational lines. The good news, he argues, is that modern economic growth has made us smarter. Growth breeds social complexity, complexity imposes increasingly heavy demands on our mental capabilities, and people respond by investing heavily in “human capital” — that is, valuable knowledge and skills. In recent decades, however, the connection between economic development and cognitive development has broken down for large segments of American society. The demand for human capital has continued to grow, but the supply has stalled. Lindsey explores the cultural roots of this problem and offers policy prescriptions for reviving broad-based human capital accumulation.