After the war, the GI Bill met the training needs of a surging peacetime economy. Scientific research also flourished, in response to the Cold War and the Soviet Union’s launching of the first Sputnik in 1957. E-mail and the Internet had their beginnings in this research.
But today why should Americans push themselves to become engineers or skilled workers when corporations are relocating operations to Asia or Mexico, where these workers are abundant and inexpensive? American-owned auto and engine plants in northern Mexico, for example, are state of the art, staffed by thousands of engineers and skilled workers trained in the colleges and vocational schools that have multiplied in that country in response to new circumstances, particularly that mass production and mass marketing now belong to the world.
We cannot know the next link in history’s chain of events. But from Chandler, Heilbroner, and Diamond come insights that will bring corporate managers’ decisions and reactions closer to the mark.
Louis Uchitelle, [email protected]
Louis Uchitelle has covered economics for the New York Times since 1987. He has written on a wide range of economic issues, with emphasis on national trends, business and labor, technology and productivity, and Federal Reserve policy. In the early 1990s, he spent more than 20 weeks in Russia and Ukraine, reporting on the former Soviet Union’s plunge into capitalism. In the late 1990s, he was the Times’s lead writer for a seven-part series on downsizing. He has taught journalism at Columbia University.