Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy? Business Organization and High-Tech Employment in the United States

By William Lazonick | Go to book overview

6
The Quest for Shareholder Value

NEBM AND THE STOCK MARKET

The globalization of the ICT labor force need not necessarily create employment problems for members of the U.S. ICT labor force. A nation such as the United States is in a prime position to both contribute to and gain from globalization. With taxpayers’ money, the U.S. government has supported, and continues to support, the building of the world’s most formidable high-tech knowledge base. The United States has, and will continue to have, the world’s leading universities for research and education in science and technology. Based in the United States are many of the world’s most powerful high-tech companies. In the 2000s these high-tech companies have in general been very profitable, in part because of their ability to take advantage of the opportunities opened up by globalization. As the rest of the world develops, a combination of government investments in the knowledge base and business investments in innovative products and processes should be able to create employment opportunities in high-value-added activities that can make full use of the productivity and creativity of the U.S. high-tech labor force.

But what happens if the ideology prevails that only the private sector makes productive contributions to economic growth, thus undermining the longstanding developmental role of government in the United States? And what happens if the ideology prevails that the primary if not sole purpose of the so-called private sector is to create value for shareholders, thus distributing corporate resources to those participants in the corporate economy who (as I will show in this chapter) contribute least? Indeed, what happens if the executives who run these corporations find that by allocating resources in ways that purportedly “maximize shareholder value,” they can become superrich even as many of the well-educated and experienced people who have worked long and hard for these companies face employment insecurity and the erosion of their accumulated human capital?

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Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy? Business Organization and High-Tech Employment in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - What Is New, and Permanent, about the "New Economy"? 1
  • 2 - The Rise of the New Economy Business Model 39
  • 3 - The Demise of the Old Economy Business Model 81
  • 4 - Pensions and Unions in the New Economy 115
  • 5 - Globalization of the High-Tech Labor Force 149
  • 6 - The Quest for Shareholder Value 197
  • 7 - Prospects for Sustainable Prosperity 249
  • References 281
  • The Author 331
  • Index 333
  • About the Institute 357
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