THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN BUSINESS: The U.S. in World Competition by Marvin with Alice Pagano & Otis Port Cetron


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Cetron, who heads a consultancy called Forecasting International, here offers a shrewd, if selective, guide to what might be in store for major sectors of American business and society through the turn of the century. While plainly more intent on coherent analyses than shock values, the author manages to reach a few provocative conclusions in the course of his text, which is divided about 65/35 between broad-brush surveys of key industries and two dozen countries. Not too surprisingly, Cetron projects a bright future for the high-tech likes of bioengineering, electronics, and fiber optics. Their successes, he anticipates, will shrink the domestic factory work force to about the size of today's farm population, while job opportunities in less remunerative service industries will continue to expand apace. In the meantime, auto manufacture will become a sort of global oligopoly, with production centered in Italy, Latin America, and South Korea. Cetron expects American computer and aerospace companies to prosper, but, he warns, they won't be spared the intensifying foreign rivalry ""that will rattle American executives in every other industry."" Japan, Inc. is riding for a fall, he contends, owing mainly to an aging population whose demand for social services is growing and tougher competition from Pacific Basin neighbors like Singapore. Italy will be on a downward track as well, but Israel could bounce back (assuming it resolves the Palestinian problem), and resource-rich Zimbabwe might emerge as black Africa's first real industrial power. By the year 2000, Cetron speculates, Australia could replace the US as the world's most stable and influential nation, albeit for reasons that have as much to do with psychology as economics. Cetron does not explore the implications of all or even most of his findings; the prospective doubling of human longevity, thanks to ""magic-bullet"" drags and procedures to correct genetic disorders, is just one case in point. He does, however, provide a road map to the future, which includes clear directions for reaching the main highways.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1985
Publisher: McGraw-Hill