growth rates

Unsung Role of Fossil Fuels in the Miracle of U.S. Growth

Past, Present, and Future, Part I

Robert Gordon’s seminal book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, has a pessimistic message with profound economic, social, and political implications. But nowhere in Gordon’s 762-page book does he give credit to fossil fuels for the economic miracle of the past two centuries. In this article, I focus on the critical historical role that fossil fuels played in creating the technological and economic miracles that Gordon articulates so well.