Productivity and American Leadership, by William J. Baumol, Sue Anne Batey Blackman, Edward N. Wolff; Made in America, by Michae
The perennial debate over the position of the American economy in world affairs has lately intensified. The dominant contention these days is that the U.S. has fallen behind industrially, with practically all the arguments resting on grand theories of the rise and fall of nations or, at the other extreme, on more or less casual evaluations of current events. A refreshing contribution of an entirely different order appears in these two books.
The first, Productivity and American Leadership: The Long View, is grounded in history and in a statistical crystallization of trends in national production over the past 200 years. The authors find our country still basically robust, though possibly in need of revised government policies to ensure its continued leadership. The second, Made in America: Regaining the Productivity Edge, the work of nine teams of analysts, undertakes an in-depth investigation of current American managerial practices and unearths evidence of serious deficiencies; its outlook is commensurately much less sanguine. In part the two approaches are complementary, but the first book is by far the more successful work.
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