Books by Joseph J. Romm

NONFICTION
Released: Sept. 17, 1992

Romm (Research Scholar/Rocky Mountain Institute) details a strategy for restoring American economic primacy. At the close of what he says have been five decades of obsession with ``national security,'' Romm proposes that broader meaning be given to that term. He argues that economic and environmental issues pose as great a threat to our nation right now as any political enemy—and that reversing the country's economic decline is as important as military preeminence. Romm calls for a national industrial policy, for federal R&D spending to concentrate more on civilian projects and to develop critical technologies, and for a reexamination of progressive energy sources like wind or solar power, rejected as inefficient in their technological infancy. He also points out that, in 1970, photovoltaic cells needed to convert sunlight into electricity cost $60 per kilowatt- hour each to produce; they now cost 30 cents apiece. Far from being antigrowth, Romm contends, a progressive energy policy will help revitalize the economy. Behind his suggestions lies a call for pragmatism and efficiency and the widespread application of the O- O-D-A Loop (observe situations; orient oneself to them; make a decision; and take action), developed by an Air Force colonel and the reason, Romm says, for our success in the Gulf War. The specter of Japanese economic strength is constantly called up, but Romm doesn't offer the typical anti-Japanese screed; rather, he calls for reorienting our foreign-aid budget away from military priorities towards fostering development; ending global warming; and increasing exports. Finally, Romm says that the Pentagon must be more realistic about distributing its reduced budget. Well researched, thoughtful, evenhanded (if repetitive at times)—and distinguished by its wealth of detailed suggestions rather than rhetoric. Read full book review >