(p. 3) Benjamin M. Friedman of Harvard University, in his book “The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth” (Knopf, 2005), said that at a deep level people make judgments about the economic progress that they see in their own lifetimes, and in comparison with the progress made by the previous generation, especially their own parents. Few people study economic growth statistics. But nearly everyone knows what they are being paid. If they realize that they are doing less well than their forebears, they become anxious. And if they can’t see themselves and others in their cohort as progressing over a lifetime, their social interactions often become angry, resentful and even conspiratorial.
For the full commentary, see:
ROBERT J. SHILLER. “Economic View; Weak Economies Foment Ethnic Nationalism.” The New York Times, SundayBusiness Section (Sun., OCT. 16, 2016): 3.
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date OCT. 14, 2016, and has the title “Economic View; What’s Behind a Rise in Ethnic Nationalism? Maybe the Economy.”)
The Benjamin Friedman book mentioned in the commentary above, is:
Friedman, Benjamin M. The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth. New York: Knopf, 2005.