After the end of the Cold War, it is clear that the chief policy issue facing the United States and other industrial democracies will be that of economic competitiveness. In trying to understand the origins of competitiveness, the chief puzzle concerns why capitalist East Asia grew as fast as it did over the past two generations. Most of the ...Read MoreAfter the end of the Cold War, it is clear that the chief policy issue facing the United States and other industrial democracies will be that of economic competitiveness. In trying to understand the origins of competitiveness, the chief puzzle concerns why capitalist East Asia grew as fast as it did over the past two generations. Most of the current literature on this subject discusses the problem in terms of either free market or state interventionist policies, but few take seriously the possiblity that culture somehow lies at the root of Asian success. This book explores the ways in which countries that share apparently similar capitalist economic institutions are in fact quite different from one another - different in their approaches, work, entrepreneurship, industrial organization and, ultimately, economic performance.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 1995-07-10 In his acclaimed The End of History and the Last Man, Rand Corporation analyst Fukuyama argued that capitalist democracy is the ultimate goal of history, the highest form of socioeconomic organization. His audacious premise in this provocative new study is that the degree of trust and social cohesion in a particular society greatly influences that nation's economic well-being and global competitiveness. France, Italy, South Korea and China, in his schema, are family-oriented societies with relatively low levels of trust among strangers. In such countries, he maintains, state intervention is often the only way to build large-scale industries, and inefficient public administration, political corruption and fragmented party systems are common. By contrast, Germany and Japan, superpowers marked by a highly developed sense of societal trust and communal solidarity, readily developed large-scale enterprises and professional management. In the United States, Fukuyama maintains, the upsurge of individualism at the expense of communityścombined with rising crime and litigation, the breakdown of families and the decline of neighborhoods, clubs, associationsśweakens our overall global competitiveness and augurs a more intrusive government to regulate social relations. Fukuyama's bold attempt to link cultural values to economic performance is bound to stir controversy. (Aug.)
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