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Competitiveness and American society by Steven L. Goldman

By Steven L. Goldman

The essays awarded during this paintings tackle the advanced social rootedness of up to date commercial competitiveness, starting from the austerely fiscal throughout the political and managerial to the richly sociological.

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Instead of working toward communal goals, firms pursue their own self-interest and, in the name of a competitiveness crisis threatening all of society, demand communal help in pursuing their self-interest! These same American firms will, however, have to compete, even in the domestic marketplace, with foreign firms whose managerial decision-making reflects communitarian values and commitments that confer competitive advantages. The Japanese view of the industrial corporation is that of a complex partnership among management, labor, Page 26 and financial backers at one level, and at another level among the firm, the family of firms with which it interacts, and various Japanese social institutions.

And Japanese social values with respect to competition and relates the different managerial attitudes toward production that Cooper noted to the institutionalization of these values in Japanese and American versions of the Page 22 modern industrial corporation. Smith argues that the American public is "obsessed" with Japanese success, and the cost to America with which that success has been won, because Japanese society is a "distant mirror" of our own. S. society in Japanese society, but there are curious "inversions," as in all mirror images, that render the familiar puzzlingly alien.

This approach had the advantage of avoiding the political and cultural issues implied by true economic integration. With the expansion to nine nations and the admission of an integration-shy Britain (in 1973), major joint policies were almost invariably frustrated by the requirement of a unanimous vote for decisions to be binding. In addition, the assumption that "reducing internal trade barriers would by itself lead to the restructuring of European industry" proved incorrect. A series of efforts in the 1970s to press more active industrial policies, in effect "picking winners," achieved little.

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