If I read this Cowen sentence correctly, he apparently doesn't believe that economics is dismal either.
If there were a new invention as important as the toilet, shareholders would not and could not appropriate most of the gains.Given that fewer people are controlling wealth, I can't believe that shareholders "could not appropriate most of the gains." I have an easier time believing that aliens will abduct me tonight than I do that shareholders would not try to appropriate any and all gains.
Because summarizing and responding to a book, Cowen doesn't take the time to warrant this assertion. I would like someone to provide a warrant for me. Please leave a cogent explanation in the comments.