His thesis is that economic progress is slowing down, and that this is bad. Kelly Evans, at the Wall St. Journal, writes:
Part of this, Mr. Cowen observes, stems from well-meaning efforts to do more with education, government, and health care that instead seem to have backfired and left us with noncompetitive institutions closer to failing us than to serving us well.I'm not at all sure he's right that we've eaten "all the low-hanging fruit". That sounds a bit exaggerated - purposely provocative. But I'm sure he's correct that a massive welfare state is no way to encourage deep research or entrepreneurial risk taking.
The lovely peach at the top of the tree -
just out of reach - looks tasty to me.