- Series: A Council on Foreign Relations Book
- Hardcover: 258 pages
- Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (October 20, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1442272600
- ISBN-13: 978-1442272606
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy (A Council on Foreign Relations Book)
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In this critical—and thorough–—analysis of US government policies regarding the country’s involvement in the global economy during the last half century, the author (Council on Foreign Relations) concentrates on the changing competitive environment the US faces. In the process of assessing the impact of those changes, he discusses a wide range of policies and how they affect US economic progress and international relations. Those policies include not only tariffs and trade agreements but also domestic tax policies, government support for enhanced investment, improvements in the education system, immigration issues, and monetary policies as they influence the international role of US currency. Part of the analysis deals with state and local governments’ attempts to take advantage of international economic opportunities in the face of insufficient federal commitments. In the process, the author also provides an insightful history of worldwide economic transformation over the last 50-plus years. This analysis is very well written and documented and is strongly recommended to anyone interested in international trade and global economic development, especially as national policy pertains to them.
Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. (CHOICE)
Rising opposition to globalization has thrown an already polarized political environment in America into near mayhem, with our key economic partnerships hanging in the balance. Ted Alden provides a cogent and constructive analysis of the origins of opposition to economic openness that charts a viable path forward. It is essential reading for all who care about America's role in the global economy. (Gordon Hanson, Pacific Economic Cooperation Chair in International Economic Relations at UCSD and Director, Center on Global Transformation)
“Ted Alden hits the nail on the head with this cogent analysis of the trade issue, its impact on American workers, our failure to meaningfully help those adversely affected and what we should now be doing to save globalization by adopting more thoughtful and far-reaching policies.” (Steven Rattner, Chairman, Willett Advisors LLC)
"Ted Alden's new book, Failure to Adjust, captures vividly the inherent tension in America’s role in the post-war global economy: that between the principal architect and guardian of an open system, on the one hand, and a participant and competitor within that system, on the other. That tension cannot be removed. But in Alden’s thoughtful analysis, as the global economy grows, the balance between player and referee that needed to shift in America in favor of the former, has been late in coming. It is a really interesting and detailed assessment, that avoids overly simple diagnoses and prescriptions."
(Michael Spence, Nobel Laureate and William R. Berkley Professor in Economics and Business, New York University)
[Alden] demonstrates how four decades of market-friendly economic and trade policies have been insufficiently inclusive, setting the stage for the populist backlash we’re now experiencing. (Sebastian Mallaby, The Wall Street Journal)
About the Author
Edward Alden is the Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11 (Harper, 2008), which was a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize.
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Top Customer Reviews
The report contains a number of excellent recommendations that the Task Force made to the Obama administration in 2011, but is also worth reading because it captures the Zeitgeist that Donald Trump was able to identify and harness some four years later, which propelled him to a victorious election as our next President of the United States.
For example, the Report concluded that "unless the US government can devise and implement trade and investment policies that benefit more Americans by sparking greater investment and jobs in the US linked to the global economy, it will be impossible to rebuild public support for trade policy. In other words, it was not enough to say that globalization would lead to a larger pie; a growing number of Americans were asking "Where is my slice?"
It also concluded that the primary reason for the stalling of US trade policy is the serious employment and income pressures so many Americans face. Many have dismissed the extent to which globalization has contributed to these employment and income pressures, pointing to the fact that technology--including, for example, automation--has also led to job losses and downward pressures.
But, in "Failure to Adjust" Edward Alden, citing a 2013 NBER working paper titled "Untangling Trade and Technology," points out that "import competition and technology have quite different impacts on the US workforce; while technology and trade are both disruptive, import competition has a much bigger impact on labor markets. Those who lose their jobs to computers are likely to find new ones, while those who lose their jobs to imports are much less likely to do so." He explains that "if companies invested in machinery that required fewer workers, or if new technologies made some jobs obsolete, then those workers would not likely find jobs doing the same type of work they had done previously. But if the companies reinvested their profits domestically, other sorts of jobs would be created that would at least partly compensate. ...In a more global market, however, the circle could be less virtuous."
This is just the tip of the iceberg, but building upon insights such as this is what make the analysis and recommendations that follow to be so compelling. (It should be noted that while Donald Trump was able to tap into the right wing populist sentiment that emanated largely from globalization, President-elect Trump's policy prescriptions may not bear any resemblance to the domestic and international trade & investment policies found in this book.)