Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Future of Capitalism

I was rummaging through my document archives and found some notes I took on Lester Thurow's "The Future of Capitalism" waaaaay back in 1998. Given the unfortunate whispers of the decline of the United States as a global economic power I thought this might be of interest. Remember, these are just a few sketchy notes. And I have no idea what "Plates" are.

Perhaps there are some useful nuggets in there. I like the one about religious fundamentalism (remember, this is from 1998).

Surging inequality
China focus will change to India focus
Communism had good education
No competitor to capitalism now so it will not implode

Economic Surface of the Earth

End of Communism (Plate 1)
Offers lots of cheap labor

Migration (plate 4) pushes unskilled workers into 1st world

New technologies (plate 2) generates skill shift
Need to offset this (by massive skill investment) is resisted by the elderly (plate 3)

Global economy (plate 4) forces wages down

Without dominant power (plate 5) there is no economic locomotive.

Progress occurs when technology meets ideology

Inflation is extinct

Japan will crack
Europe is biased towards social programs so jobs will flee
Global bubbles burst together
Uncertainty breeds religious fundamentalism (its familiar in uncertain times)

Capital is human and no longer ownable

Need to spur long-term thinking and R&D - Government's only role

1 comment:

Paul O'Cuana said...

"Global economy forces wages down"

This seems to be the most significant observation. With zero wage growth Americans went into debt to finance consumption and to maintain their standard of living. Now that the debt bubble has burst there is the triple drag on the economy of no wage growth, high unemployment, and the need to pay down debt.
How can American and European workers compete in a global economy? They can't, although European governments will be more willing to support workers; not with jobs but with transfer payments.
The goal in the Western world is to get workers to manage their leisure time because it's cheaper to give them money than to create jobs for them.

Paul O'Cuana