The Second Industrial Divide: Possibilities for Prosperity

The Second Industrial Divide: Possibilities for Prosperity

The Second Industrial Divide: Possibilities for Prosperity

The Second Industrial Divide: Possibilities for Prosperity

Excerpt

THE TIMES are troubled indeed when the good news is almost indistinguishable from the bad. Economic downturns no longer seem mere interruptions in the march to greater prosperity; rather, they threaten to destroy the world markets on which economic success has depended since the end of World War II. Meanwhile, upturns avert disaster without solving the problems of unemployment and slow growth, which have become chronic in almost all the advanced countries. No theory seems able to explain recent events, let alone predict what will happen next. National leaders play their economic hunches in bold, sometimes desperate attempts to regain control of events. Even the Japanese--whose economic triumphs have won them the envy of their trading partners--are as worried by the fragility of their success as they are gratified by its magnitude.

But amid the confusion, two things are generally counted as nearcertainties. First, disruptions in the supply of natural resources--primarily, sources of energy--are seen to have slowed economic growth. And second, the modern welfare state's efforts to control the pace and consequences of growth are seen to have obstructed industrial development (surprisingly enough, there is agreement on this across political lines). However they differ in their analyses and prescriptions for improvement, most theoretical efforts to explain our economic difficulties draw on these two ideas, singly or in combination.

This book takes a different tack. We argue that political intervention . . .

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