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Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East Paperback – June 27, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ex-Reagan administration trade official Prestowitz follows up his critique of U.S. unilateralist foreign policy in Rogue Nation with this perceptive diagnosis of the nation's economic decline under globalization. While China and India focus on trade and industrial policies and turn out competent workers who put in long hours at a fraction of American wages, the U.S., Preston argues, struggles with crushing trade and budget deficits, a zero savings rate, failing schools, dwindling investments in scientific training and research, a collapsing dollar and a debt-dependent economy that will face an "economic 9/11" once foreign creditors bail out. The argument echoes Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat (Forecasts, Apr. 4), but Prestowitz's analysis is more thoughtful than Friedman's pro-globalization cheerleading. He criticizes, from firsthand experience, Washington's cavalier embrace of free trade and aversion to industrial policy ("they'll sell us semi-conductors and we'll sell them poetry," notes one Reagan administration economist) and argues cogently that the research and development apparatus and high-tech entrepreneurship that is supposed to save America's economy is likely instead to follow the manufacturing base offshore. It's a lucid and sobering forecast.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Prestowitz, economic trend-spotter, reports, "Over the past two decades . . . China, India and the former Soviet Union all decided to leave their respective socialist workers paradise and drive their 3 billion citizens along the once despised capitalist road." These new capitalists symbolize the threats to end 600 years of Western economic domination as America's lead role in invention and technological innovation lessens and the Internet allows jobs to be performed anywhere. The author foresees the possibility of an "economic 9/11," which won't kill but will cause great hardship. To prevent what he sees as an accident waiting to happen, Prestowitz offers a wide range of solutions relating to the dollar's role in today's global marketplace, addressing the reality that Americans consume too much and Asians save too much, and facing energy challenges in the U.S and problems confronting our educational system. The author offers valuable insight into these important topics currently being debated in government and corporate circles. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (June 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465062822
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465062829
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,808,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAME on June 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Before writing this review, I reflected carefully on the thoughts of those who say that the author, who is known to me, was wrong about Japan, that he emphasizes the best points of the new competitors (China and India) while neglecting our best points. There is certainly something to what they say, but as one who studies the entire world for our US Government clients, with a special familiarity with Chinese operations in Africa and South America, and a business familiarity with what is happening in India, I have to say that on balance, the author is more correct his critics will admit, and this is a book that we simply cannot ignore.

His most important point is made in one line: America does not have a strategy. America does not have a strategy for winning the global war on terror, it does not have an energy strategy, it does not have an education strategy, it does not have an economic or competitiveness strategy. The government is being run on assertion and ideology rather than evidence and thought--a media cartoon has captured the situation perfectly: as the VP tells the President that we are "turning the corner" the two walls behind them are labeled Incompetence and Fantasy. As a moderate Republican and a trained intelligence professional with two books on the latter topic, I have to say that this book by this author, a Reaganite businessman and senior appointee in the Department of Commerce is right on target. We *are* out of touch with reality, and we do not appreciate, at any level from White House to School House, the tsunami that is about to hit us.
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Format: Hardcover
Mr Prestowitz raises alot of the issues regarding the rise of China and its consequences. He writes from the perspective of a former international marketing manager for a US corporation and a former Commerce department official. I take most of the things Mr Prestowitz is commenting on seriously and

I think the tone, while pessimistic, is not over the top.

I am a silicon valley scientist and I find Mr Prestowitz's

perspective valuable and complimentary to my in the trenches view of this. I grew up in the rust belt and watched at close quarters the disappearance of the steel industry and started my career at a DRAM company, which was also vaporized in the early to mid 80s. In the late 90s I had my product line moved to the

far east and the most recent business I am associated with is

seeing counterfeiting and price competition from China.

The parts of Mr Prestowitz's analysis of which I have personal and independent knowledge is almost all correct in my opinion. He correctly lays out the dilemma from the businessman's perspective and he is aware of the key reasons why tech businesses feel compelled to move manufacturing and other things to China and other locations in the far east. He gives you a good feel for the strategies of the Chinese and Indian Governments so that you get a good feeling for the dynamics of this.

However, he goes much further by adding his analysis of the European hand of cards and how they are likely to play it. There is also the issue of the fate of the dollar and the trade deficit which is discussed at some length in several chapters. Much of this discussion does place some numbers out there some of which are new to me.
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Format: Hardcover
Back in 1988, Prestowitz wrote "Trading Places" which was about Japan taking over the world. It sure looked that way at the time, Japan had the highest savings and investment rate, it was catching up and leapfrogging past us in many technologies. It had a huge current account surplus. However, shortly after Prestowitz published his book Japan experienced a chronic recession for the next 20 years. It's stock market level has not recovered from the peak of the late 80s.

Now, Prestowits is crying wolf about China and India for a different set of well known reasons. They have an abundant, cheap, and increasingly educated labor force that will accelerate the gutting out of both our manufacturing and research-service sectors.

Everything Prestowitz states is true, well researched, and insightful. Thus, why was he so wrong nearly 20 years ago about the prognostic of Japan vs the U.S.? And, is he likely to be wrong about China and India?

There is a simple reason why Prestowitz is likely to be wrong again. He focuses only on the most positive sides of our international competitors, and the worst ones of ours. Thus, his arguments are highly unbalanced. China and India are formidable competitors, and to some degree they should take over the world. This is just so that the living standards of their citizen reaches something beyond a poor third world level. However, both China and India face extremely challenging hurdles. China is absolutely clueless about efficient allocation of capital. Credit allocation through their banking system is one of the poorest and most corrupt in the world. The percentage of bad loans within these same banks is causing the entire banking sector to be essentially insolvent.
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