THE AMERICAN CHALLENGE by J. J. Servan-Schreiber


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Can a million-plus European readers be wrong? . . . but they've tasted, not necessarily swallowed, this opus. The American audience titillated by Life-New York Times promotion will have reservations (for different reasons). Not that Servan-Schreiber, the young (44), influential (L'Express) French publisher doesn't make a plausible case for the use of American managerial methods as an alternative to American economic domination. But he raises at least four separate and distinct issues which are all too susceptible of biased blurring. . . . First, U.S. economic penetration in Europe and the monopolistic capitalism which guides it. Second, European ""incapacity"" lack of capital or technique? No, says Servan-Schreiber, of organization know-how. Third, European unity; fourth, European policies toward the U.S. in the light of recent developments. While the first point is irrefutable, and the second debatable, the third and fourth demand a great deal of background in order to place Servan-Schreiber's position between Gaullist anti-Americanism plus discrete nationalism, and George Ball's political unitarianism plus unlimited receptivity to economic influence. A revival of American interest in Europe is welcome, given the monetary crisis which Servan-Schreiber analyzes rather superficially: but Servan-Schreiber displays an almost McLuhanite reluctance to commit himself to a final analysis or set of recommendations. Like McLuhan, he is willing enough to make ad hoc judgments on alienated youth (unless they have new options they'll turn toward Guervara-worship). Vietnam (the NLF-cum-North Vietnamese have decidedly won). And like McLuhan's works, this book is far more valuable for its questions than its answers.

Pub Date: July 15th, 1968
Publisher: Atheneum