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Schumpeter: The father of fracking

August 2, 2013 at 4:54 am | News Desk

THE United States has of late been in a slough of despond. The mood is reflected in a spate of books with gloomy titles such as “That Used to Be Us” (Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum) and “Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent” (Edward Luce). For the first time in decades the majority of Americans think their children will be worse off than they are. Yankee can-do optimism is in danger of congealing into European nothing-can-be-done negativism.There are good reasons for this. The political system really is “even worse than it looks”, as another doom-laden book puts it. Middle-class living standards have stagnated. The Iraq war turned into a debacle. But the pessimists are ignoring a mighty force pushing in the opposite direction: America’s extraordinary capacity to reinvent itself. No other country produces as many world-changing new companies in such a variety of industries: not just in the new economy of computers and the internet but also in the old economy of shopping, manufacturing and energy.George Mitchell, who died on July 26th, was a one-man refutation of the declinist hypothesis. From the 1970s America’s energy industry reconciled…

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