Linda Yueh sits down with Bold Business to discuss her new book.
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Bold Biz: Linda Yueh “What would the Great Economists do”

Linda Yueh — Author, discusses her new book “What would the Great Economists do” and how 12 brilliant minds would solve today’s biggest problems”

Posted by BoldTV on Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Yueh’s new book


Linda Yueh told Bold Business that her new book, “What Would the Great Economists Do?: How Twelve Brilliant Minds Would Solve Today’s Biggest Problems” is all about the big economic problems that are being faced today, such as “Why are wages so slow and is inequality inevitable?” The questions, Yueh realized, are not necessary to tackle “from scratch.”

Yueh proposed that we can look at what some of the best economists over the past 200 years have said on the topic of the economy. She mentioned that the Roaring ’20s were some of the best economic times of our history.

“There are a lot of lessons that we can learn from the greatest thinkers in history, and that is what I do in this book. Every chapter is about one economic challenge, and I summarize all of the economic theory from the past 250 years” Yeuh said. “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes, so we should learn from history.”


One element of the book


Yueh mentioned one great economist by the name of Joan Robinson.“She tried to explain exactly when it is the case that people simply do not get paid the price of their output, and the reasons why wages are so low,” Yueh said.


Why has productivity growth in the United States recently been pretty good but not reflected in people’s wages, Yueh asked. About a century ago, the situation was the same. Therefore, the lessons are the same even if the circumstances aren’t exactly the same, too. “When you have monopolies and firms that have too much power, it just means that people will not get paid,” Yueh said. Robinson’s theories, Yueh said, can help us better understand why wages are so low now.


Yueh’s opinion on the unemployment rate


Yueh said she believes that the unemployment rate makes things look good on paper because the figures are nice, and a lot of jobs have been created. However, wage growth and earnings growth are doing much less well.


“One of the reasons a lot of people don’t like the status quo is because although it looks like things are going really well, the reality is that, despite the companies doing really well, the workers themselves do not feel better off,” she said.


Wages, Yueh said, are just not keeping up with cost of living. In fact, wages have been more or less stagnant for the last 40 years. “And you just can’t see that in the official unemployment rate,” she said.   


A global problem


In the United States, the national wage has been stagnant since the 1970s. In Germany and Japan, median wages have been stagnant for 20 years, and in the United Kingdom, wages have been stagnant for the past decade. It is massively contributing to why workers feel that they are not being taken care of, that they are being hoodwinked as it were, by their governments and their countries.


But Yueh hastened to say that her book is not solely about the economic downsides.


“There is also a chapter which talks about creative destruction,” she said, which is, in other words, all about where creative innovation comes from and how it transforms itself into new things over the years.


In one chapter of her book, Yueh discussed “what it is like to innovate today” and how certain technologies get destroyed by other, newer technologies. What kind of things will be coming up on the heels of companies such as Apple and Google, and will their time come to an end in a year 100 years or tomorrow.


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Posted 09.01.2018 - 01:00 pm EDT