Feature

Book of the week: The Great Reset by Richard Florida

According to the author, big economic downturns pave the way for periods of great innovation.

(HarperCollins, $26.99)

Richard Florida’s The Great Reset tells us to look at the bright side of high unemployment, foreclosures, and debt crises, said Richard Reeves in the Financial Times. Big economic downturns, he says, pave the way for periods of great innovation. The first “reset,” in the 1870s, brought us electricity. The second reset, during the Great Depression, gave birth to mass consumption and suburbanization—developments that, he claims, the current reset may reverse.

Florida contends that “times of crisis reveal what is and isn’t working,” said James Pressley in Bloomberg.com. The government’s promotion of home ownership, for instance, not only fueled debt but created an immobile workforce. Florida believes that people will soon “prefer renting homes to owning them,” abandon suburbs for cities, and ditch sport utility vehicles in favor of bicycles. Too often, though, Florida’s speculations prove too vague to “satisfy an appetite whetted by his ‘great reset’ thesis.”

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