THE DECLINE AND CRASH OF THE AMERICAN ECONOMY by Joel Kurtzman

THE DECLINE AND CRASH OF THE AMERICAN ECONOMY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here, a financial journalist for the New York Times suggests national economic planning as a way to avert what he believes will be the eventual crash of the US economy. Kurtzman is highly critical of the notion that the US is in the midst of a transformation from an manufacturing-based economy to an ""information and service economy."" He argues that high-paying industrial jobs are being replaced by low-paying service jobs--the villains of this transformation being multinational corporations that have shifted manufacturing jobs to low-wage Third World countries. He goes on to praise European and Japanese governments for supporting (i.e., subsidizing) their high-wage manufacturing companies, but overlooks the fact that Europe's national economic planning and subsidization policies have led to a decade of very high unemployment rates. He is also very enthusiastic about Japan's ""fifth generation"" computer project, arguing that it should be a model for the US economic planning. But the problem here is that the ""fifth generation"" project has consistently failed to meet any of its targets. Kurtzman's proposals, coming as they do during one of the longest periods of economic expansion in US history, the lowest levels of unemployment in a decade, and a subsiding trade deficit, seem a bit beside the point. He has, however, identified some very real problems that continue to plague the American economy--e.g., high real interest rates, the short-sightedness of many of our business managers, and the danger of high federal government budget deficits. He also stresses the need to alleviate the problem of Third World debt so that those economies can start growing and become once again markets for America's manufactured products. Despite its flaws, this is a timely book whose themes may well become part of the national political debate during this presidential election year.

Pub Date: May 23rd, 1988
ISBN: 0393025233
Publisher: Norton