The Future of Capitalism: How Today's Economic Forces Shape Tomorrow's World

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9780140263282: The Future of Capitalism: How Today's Economic Forces Shape Tomorrow's World

This work analyzes the future of capitalism, and charts a course for surviving and winning in the years ahead. "Survival of the fittest" capitalism stands alone and apparently trimphant. Communism has collapsed and the social welfare state is breaking down everywhere. But technology and ideology are shaking the foundations of 21st-century capitalism. Technology is making skills and knowledge the only sources of sustainable strategic advantage. Abetted by the electronic media, ideology is moving toward the consumer's instant gratification. A new capitalism must emerge, one in which the ownership of skills ("man-made brainpower") instead of physical capital is the key strategic asset. Economic success will depend upon our willingness and ability to make long-term social investments in skills, education, knowledge and infrastructure. The intrinsic problems of capitalism (instability, rising inequality) are still waiting to be solved, but so are a new set of problems - and opportunities - that flow from capitalism's growing dependence upon human capital and man-made brainpower industries. In this era of massive economic and political change as five great "tectonic plates" of capitalism reshape the future, those who win will learn to play a new game with new rules requiring new strategies. Tomorrow's winners will have very different characteristics than today's winners. When technology and ideology start moving apart, the only question is when will the "big one" (the earthquake that rocks the system) occur? Paradoxically at a time when capitalism finds itself at the "end of history" with no social and political competitors, it will have to undergo a profound metamorphosis. Lester Thurow is the author of "Head to Head" and "The Zero-Sum Society".

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Capitalism stands alone, and apparently triumphant. Socialism is almost a memory. The social welfare state is under siege, if not already broke. But the economic, social and political forces heading into the 21st century are as paradoxical as they are irresistable. Will capitalism be able to adapt? Or will it be yet another unchallenged, and then suddenly obselete, ideology. Consider: * in all of Western Europe, net employment did not grow by a single job from 1973 to 1994 * the Japanese recession has gone on, with no end in sight, since 1989 * in mid-1994, Mexico had done everything by the book - balanced its budget, privatised more than 1000 state companies, chopped government regulations, joined Nafta and agreed to dramatically cut its tariffs and quotas. Six months later, its economy was in ruins. * in the 1980s, all of the earnings growth in the Us fell to the highest paid 20% of the workforce, with an amazing 64% of the growth going to the wealthiest 1%. the pay of the average Fortune 500 Ceo rose from 35 to 157 times that of the average production worker The dilemmas of 20th century capitalism are as much political as economic. Its d

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