THE HIGH-FLEX SOCIETY: Shaping America's Economic Future by Pat and J.K. Linger Choate

THE HIGH-FLEX SOCIETY: Shaping America's Economic Future

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Choate (Being Number One) contends that the American economy has lost its once-vaunted flexibility in adapting to change. With this hook, he draws us into an almost encyclopedic yet readable rundown of our current economic woes, the reasons why, and how to fix them. There's little that hasn't been said before, but it's rare to find it said so thoroughly and so well. He contends that the American economy is driven by rules that no longer work as well as they once did. We are thus less flexible in the face of change than the ""plan-driven' economies of Japan and other non-communist Asian countries, and the ""mixed"" economies of most European nations. Our trade policies are dated and do not reflect today's global market. We have not yet amended these partly because the government moves slowly in changing a basic rule and partly because the ""free trade--fair trade"" squabble has sandbagged attempts to do so. He also cites the government for not moving in the face of obvious violations of trade agreements. Specific recommendations include a beefed-up Customs force, tough bargaining with exporting countries and so on. His ""High-Flex Business"" section includes the familiar complaints of short-term profits vs. long-term planning, resistance to technical innovation, cutbacks in worker training and retraining and so on. The ""High-Flex Government"" section is an excellent compendium of the executive, legislative and bureaucratic inertia and bungling that has produced a massive national debt. Despite the ""high-flex"" jazz, this is solid and blessedly readable.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1986
Publisher: Knopf