THE END OF THE AMERICAN CENTURY by Steven B. Schlossstein

THE END OF THE AMERICAN CENTURY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An earnest but often muddled series of prescriptions as to how the US can take advantage of available opportunities to maintain its global preeminence. Blandly gainsaying the implications of his attention-grabbing title, Schlossstein explains that America is in the midst of a painful transition, not at the end of a hegemony-threatening tether. To remain primus inter pares, the international banker-turned-consultant argues, the country must renew and revitalize itself. As a means to this end, he proposes a mixed bag of statist and private-sector initiatives. A keystone element in his reformist program would be the use of tax-related incentives to strenghten industrial manufacturing, enhance technological prowess, boost savings rates, encourage capital formation, and achieve other socioeconomic goals. All but ignoring Western Europe in his dour audit (which relies greatly on testimony from business leaders, government officials, scholars, working parents, and allied sources throughout the world), Schlossstein views East Asia in general and Japan in particular as the only bona fide challengers for the bellwether role still played by America. In this context, he concludes that the nation must rise above anti-protectionism principle and formulate trade policy on a strategic basis. Along similar lines, the author stresses that the thoughtful development of human resources--via substantive, innovative improvements in public education and vaguely defined ""support structures"" for families--could prove decisive in the ongoing competition with Pacific Rim rivals. At stake, he asserts, is the vital matter of whether Pax America--with its emphasis on representative democracy, freedom, justice, and liberty--will be extended into the next century or supplanted by a Pax Nipponica whose bedrock cultural values run to conformity, hierarchy, and unquestioning loyalty. Provocative as well as problematic judgments on the state of the union and its institutional course.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Congdon & Weed--dist. by Contemporary