THE POWER OF PRODUCTIVITY: Wealth, Poverty and the Threat to Global Stability

William W. Lewis, Author . Univ. of Chicago $28 (339p) ISBN 978-0-226-47676-6

Lewis, founding director of the McKinsey Global Institute and former partner at McKinsey & Company, offers a detailed look at the local economies in several parts of the world including the U.S., Japan, India and Brazil. Based on the Institute's 12-year survey and analysis, Lewis concludes that the great economic disparity between rich and poor countries will ultimately have a negative impact on all nations. Lewis and his team examined individual industries within a country to evaluate the productivity per employee. The specific country-by-country distillations are easily understood, regardless of one's familiarity with economic theory, and readers will not be surprised by Lewis's discussion of the thriving Japanese economy, successful largely because of its domination of the automobile market. However, the more detailed analysis of Japanese business, which is limited by government policy including restrictive land regulations that have kept larger retailers like Wal-Mart away, is quite informative. The author's examination of American domestic productivity is also clear and accessible: in the 1990s, growth occurred in only six sectors, including four technological areas—security brokers, microprocessors, computer assembly and mobile telephone services. As evidenced by the tech bubble, slowed growth in these fields has hurt the economy. Lewis concludes by explaining how various factors, including education, government controls and cooperation among countries, will play a part in future international economic stability. This is an insightful treatment of a complex issue that deserves a wide readership. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/23/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 339 pages - 978-0-226-47698-8
Open Ebook - 373 pages - 978-0-226-47700-8
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