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Fortune Favors the Bold


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Lester C. Thurow is the Lemelson Professor of Management and Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught since 1968. From 1987 through 1993 he was dean of MIT's Sloan School of Management. His previous books include the New York Times bestsellers The Zero-Sum Society and The Future of Capitalism.


With no viable alternatives to capitalism remaining, says Thurow, the "third industrial revolution" makes a global market economy inevitable. The only question is exactly how the globalization process will unfold. Thurow admits flaws in the capitalist system, but firmly believes the game can be handicapped to reduce some of the inequalities. As the former dean of MIT's business school, the author may be a master economist; his take on matters such as Japan's stagnancy in the 1990s is certainly sharp and insightful. But when he tackles other cultural and social issues, there are enough hyperbolic statements on basic subjects open to debate-such as the assertion that the music recording industry faces "economic extinction" and that the film industry may soon follow-that the reader is not always inclined to trust his judgment. Proposals for global financial reform, such as transforming the International Monetary Fund into international bank deposit insurance, read as pie-eyed rather than visionary. To ensure affordable medicine for the third world, for example, he suggests governments use the principle of eminent domain to scoop up pharmaceutical patents. He has an even more reckless plan for dealing with copyrights and patents, in which the American government would simply allow corporations to ignore intellectual property claims originating in countries that refuse to prosecute their own copyright pirates. Such shaky advice undermines the more effective historical and contemporary economic analysis. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"a book about's a pageturner. Thurow...proposes provocative changes to those who shape the global economy"--Fortune
"The disputes over globalization have evolved...[this] book captures the key issues."--Harvard Business Review

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