The Woodrow Wilson Center Press
Building the Next American Century: The Past and Future of Economic Competitiveness
Collaboration between the public and private sectors helped the U.S. economy recover from its last period of economic malaise, and similar collaboration is needed today, according to a key participant in the 1980s–1990s competitiveness movement.
In Building the Next American Century, Kent H. Hughes describes that movement, beginning with the conditions that stimulated it: stagflation in the early 1970s, declines in manufactured exports, and challenges from German and Japanese manufacturers. The United States responded with monetary and fiscal reform, technological innovation, and formation of a culture of lifelong learning. Although a great deal of leadership came from government, a new sense of partnership with the private sector and its leaders was crucial. Hughes attributes much of the national prosperity of the late 1990s to contributions from the private sectors. Hughes argues that a twenty-first-century competitiveness strategy with a system-wide approach to innovation, learning, and global engagement can meet today's challenges, even in the demanding environment shaped by national security concerns after 9/11.
What People are Saying
"The United States experienced two decades of deep anxiety over its national competitivenessfrom the early 1970s into the 1990s, with profound effects on both policyand perceptions. This new book provides a superb description and analysis of that key period and applies its lessons to America's position in the world economy of the twenty-first century."—C. Fred Bergsten, Director, Institute for International Economics
"Kent Hughes has written exactly the right book at exactly the right time. America today faces fundamental questions about its ability to compete and to maintain the Americandream for its citizens. Today's leaders would do well to read this book."—Clyde Prestowitz, President, Economic Strategy Institute
"To fashion our response to the latest economic challenges from China and India, we need to know what we did in the early 1980s, when we faced tough competition from Japan and Germany. With Kent Hughes's book, we can avoid spinning our wheels on issues that already have been thoroughly vetted. I have proposed that we create a newcommission on competitiveness. Kent's book explains what we learned from the first one—the Young Commission—and provides a superb grounding."—Senator Joseph I. Lieberman
"Given his personal involvement in this subject in key government and private sectorroles, Kent is qualified uniquely, not only to put this subject in historical context, but also to take us forward, as he does with six broad and important recommendations to strengthen our American innovation system. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in American competitiveness, and that should be all of us."—George M. C. Fisher, retired Chairman and CEO, Eastman Kodak Company
Preface Acknowledgments Abbreviations and Acronyms Introduction: Meeting the New Economic Challenge—Forging an American Dream for the Twenty-First Century 1. From Effortless Growth to the Era of Stagflation 2. The Search for a New Growth Strategy: The Policy and Politics of Prosperity 3. Looking Abroad for Answers: Pearls of Wisdom from the Global Oyster, Japan—the Samurai Surprise 4. Looking Abroad for Answers: Rising Germany, the Specter of Britain, and the Clash of Capitalisms 5. Congress Takes the Lead 6. Reagan Responds: The President's Commission on Industrial Competitiveness 7. Congress Acts on Trade and Competitiveness 8. Building the Base for Future Prosperity: The Private Sector and the States 9. President Bush Takes the Stage 10. The 1992 Presidential Election: The Campaign for Competitiveness 11. Competitiveness as National Policy: Turning Ideas into Action 12. The Gingrich Revolution and the Comeback President 13. The Competitiveness Strategy: Explaining the Past and Forging the Future 14. Competing for the Future 15. Competing for the Future: Strengthening the American Innovation System 16. Competing for the Future: Building a Better American Learning System 17. Competing for the Future: Global Engagement in the Twenty-First Century 18. America in the Next American Century Timeline of Significant Events Affecting Competitiveness Glossary Bibliography Index