TOWARD THE NEXT ECONOMICS by Peter F. Drucker

TOWARD THE NEXT ECONOMICS

And Other Essays
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Diverse essays, 1972-80, looking as usual chiefly to the future--a natural outlook for the nation's top business-management advisor and goad. Drucker, indeed, is seldom boring and seldom wholly wrong just because he's challenging "generally accepted assumptions"--which are, in the nature of things, always partially erroneous. (And almost invariably out-of-date.) The title essay is Drucker's most encompassing refutation/prognostication. Reviewing the successive schools of economic thinking (Mercantilism to Keynesianism), he characterizes the "world view" of each as either macro- or micro-economic, either supply- or demand-focused. This construct not only makes monetarist Milton Friedman a Keynesian (his economics is macro-economics--and demand-focused, contingent on money and credit), it also shifts attention--in Drucker's words--from the failure of "this or that theory" to the failure of the Keynesian assumption that productivity, unattended, would continue to slowly increase. Add the decline in capital-formation (contra to Keynesian theory), and Drucker is ready to stipulate what the Next Economics will be: micro-economic and based on supply. But the new micro-economics will concentrate, not on profit-maximization, but on productivity and capital-formation--making possible the integration, for the first time, of micro-economics and macro-economics, and of "the real economy of commodities and work and the symbol economy of money and credit." Some of the implications may be previewed in the succeeding pieces, which mostly address specific audiences and specific issues: environmentalism (or, how to identify justifiable risks--and non-justifiable risks), technology (or, how to be technologically innovative--and technologically responsible). One interesting piece deals with multinationals and developing countries. "Neglect and indifference," writes Drucker, "rather than 'exploitation,' is the justified grievance of the developing countries"; and he suggests ways to give Third-World affiliates more standing in the corporate structure. Another reassesses--as totally misrepresented--the prophet of "scientific management," Frederick Taylor. Two concluding pieces focus on Japan: one, a corrective that overcompensates, is devoted to demonstrating that Japan is not a monolith (true, but it's a lot more homogeneous than any other major nation); the second attempts, unimpressively, to view Japan through Japanese art. But even the narrowest of the pieces on management- and work-related issues--corporate boards, retirement, public-service programs--have something eye-opening to say.
Pub Date: April 29th, 1981
ISBN: 1422131556
Page count: 229pp
Publisher: Harper & Row
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1981




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