THE AMERICAN ECONOMY WE NEED by John B. Anderson

THE AMERICAN ECONOMY WE NEED

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The past and prospective independent presidential candidate offers his alternatives to Reaganomics and liberal Democratic economics--with hohum to inspiriting results. There is much political rhetoric (""I see an America. . . ,"" ""We need a political party. . .""). There is bald oversimplification: ""I believe that the economic difficulties of the last decade and a half have been the result of ill-chosen fiscal and monetary policies operating on a deteriorating production base."" The matter of management's responsibility for stagnating industries has been aired often, and more discerningly. But on the politics of economics, participant-become-bystander Anderson scores neatly: how Reagan outmaneuvered congressional Democrats, what each segment of the two parties has at stake. His own suggestions, however, are also best read as a critique. He's big on the new technology--but skeptical of both postindustrialism (""a service economy smacks of clean-hands gentility"" and neocolonialism, for one) and sunrise/ sunset reindustrialization (acutely, ""Is production of the 64K RAM chip a sunset industry?""). Centrally, he lauds neoliberal emphasis on reconstruction over Reaganomics; opts for the marketplace over government as the guiding force; and proposes ""an extensive and comprehensive support system"" as the primary vehicle. The latter--embracing an Industrial Science Foundation and Regional Technology Institutes, privately-owned Public Enterprise Corporations (to take up the unemployment slack), and an Industrial Development Authority (to aid stagnating industries)--constitutes the ""supply side"" of his program. The ""demand"" side entails tailoring the federal budget to ""quality investments,"" public and private--plus ""a creative approach to federalism,"" ""restoring the global competitiveness of American products,"" and avoiding a dual economy by creating ""new wealth"" and ""new job opportunities."" The aims are worthy, the proposals often meritorious--the likelihood of a new, implementing political party, virtually nil. Credit Anderson, nonetheless, with trying to amalgamate old-time values and the new technology.

Pub Date: April 2nd, 1984
Publisher: Atheneum