Professor Thurow identifies several sources of current and future economic instability related to globalization, and suggests bold ways to deal with them. One problem is the inability of Japan to clear the rubble left by its economic meltdown in the late 1990s. Professor Thurow’s solution is to liquidate the firms and write off the debts, with the Japanese taxpayer picking up the bill. Another problem looms in the U.S. balance-of-payments crisis and the inevitable fall in the value of the dollar. The risks in the speed of this change, suggests Professor Thurow, can be counteracted only by bold action — reflation in the economies of Japan and the European Community. Another threat is the absence of clear, worldwide intellectual property rights: Here he advocates a vigorous campaign on the part of the U.S. to enforce a new global system of such rights that deals with multiple, often conflicting needs — the need both for cheap drugs to fight malaria and AIDS in Africa, for example, and for pharmaceutical firms to earn high enough returns to develop new medicines.
Jeffrey Rothfeder ([email protected]) writes frequently for strategy+business and other leading business publications. He is the author of Privacy for Sale: How Computerization Has Made Everyone’s Private Life an Open Secret (Simon & Schuster, 1992). His most recent book is Every Drop for Sale: Our Desperate Battle Over Water in a World About to Run Out (Penguin Putnam, Jeremy P. Tarcher, 2001).
David K. Hurst ([email protected]), a regular contributor to strategy+business, is the author of Learning from the Links: Mastering Management Using Lessons from Golf (Free Press, 2002). A speaker and writer on management, Mr. Hurst also wrote Crisis & Renewal: Meeting the Challenge of Organizational Change (Harvard Business School Press, 1995) and was a visiting scholar/practitioner at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, N.C., in 1998–99. His writing has appeared in Harvard Business Review, the Financial Times, and other leading business publications.