Last night I wandered into a bookstore by mistake and ended up sitting through a fascinating talk by economist Jared Bernstein. He was discussing the economic trends that have us feeling overworked, underpaid, and anything but upwardly mobile. Unlike most economists, though, he could speak plain English and made his points accessibel and understandable.

So I bought his new book “Crunch.” I’m halfway through it and it’s a fun, educational read. It teaches a lot about how money is currently flowing and why it’s flowing that way.

Though heavily researched and footnoted, this is written as a popular book. I would have preferred to see more in-text mentions of sources, but he doesn’t do that. The text presents only conclusions and observations, and reference-following geeks like me must read the bibliography and footnotes to dig deeper into his sources.

His fundamental thesis: absurdly rising income inequality of the last 30 years (especially the last 10) have allocated virtually all productivity improvement gains to a very small group of people. Everyone else has been subject to foreign wage competition,  increasing productivity (which means fewer  jobs needed), etc. His claim is that we’ve reached a point where social mobility is also structurally constricted because education and opportunities are linked to wealth given college costs rising at 3x inflation for 15 years, etc.

Check it out. His ideas may surprise you. Link to the book:

Why do we feel so economically squeezed?

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