Building Wealth

The New Rules for Individuals, Companies, and Nations in a Knowledge-Based Economy

Lester C. Thurow

Publisher: HarperCollins, 1999, 301 pages

ISBN: 0-88730-951-8

Keywords: Finance

Last modified: July 12, 2021, 8:25 p.m.

As we stand on the brink of the new millennium, MIT economist Lester Thurow addresses the critical issue of wealth creation. The result is an essential road map for how individuals, companies, and nations can and must build wealth in a knowledge-based global economy.

There is no doubt that we are in the middle of a transition to a knowledge-based economy; breakthrough technologies in microelectronics, biotechnology, new materials, telecommunications, robotics, and computers are fundamentally changing the game of creating wealth. Thanks to the impact of these technologies, new industries (software, gene therapy) are growing explosively and existing industries (banking, retail) are being transformed beyond recognition.

Out of these transformations, a new global economy is emerging to replace existing national economies. Almost alone, the American economy seems to be enjoying a period of unprecedented growth. Is this growth sustainable? Is global integration a boon or a threat to this trend? Will the forces that sparked the Asian meltdown — a crisis that is meticulously evaluated in these pages — provoke a more persistent era of stagnation or worse? Should global integration be slowed? Can it be slowed? What lies ahead in the near future?

What skills are needed to succeed in this new economy? What new rules must apply to the creation and protection of new ideas? How are environmental problems such as global warming going to affect wealth creation? How can marketable wealth be rising at ever-faster rates while productivity growth is slowing? How can nations create a social system in which the entrepreneurial spirit can flourish without also creating income and wealth inequalities that threaten the system?

In the groundbreaking final chapters of Building Wealth, Professor Thurow turns his attention to the three current major economic sectors of the world: America, East Asia, and Europe. He provides a trenchant analysis of each as a significant competitor in the coming decades, and predicts the likely outcome of the complex forces that are presently shaping global society.

  • Part One — Exploring a Knowledge-Based Economy
    1. The Economic Landscape
    2. The Glittering Eye at the Top of the Wealth Pyramid
    3. Finding (and Losing) the Treasures of the Wealth Pyramid
  • Part Two — The Archaeology of a Wealth Pyramid
    1. Social Organization
    2. Entrepreneurial Skills
    3. Creating Knowledge
    4. Skills
    5. Tools
    6. Natural and Environmental Resourcesx
  • Part Three — Treasure Hunters within the Wealth Pyramid
    1. Marketable Wealth
    2. Missing Treasures
  • Part Four — The Builders
    1. Managing the Tensions of Wealth Creation
    2. Building a Wealth Pyramid
  • Epilogue — A Salute to the Builders


Building Wealth

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

OK ***** (5 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 2:56 a.m.

A very interesting book that tries to describe the "new economy" in a sane manner.


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