Made in America: Regaining the Productive Edge / Edition 1

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Overview

What went wrong and how can America become second to none in industrial productivity? This long awaited study by a team of top notch MIT scientists and economists - the MIT Commission on Industrial Productivity - takes a hard look at the recurring weaknesses of American industry that are threatening the country's standard of living and its position in the world economy. Made in America identifies what is best and worth replicating in American industrial practice and sets out five national priorities for regaining the productive edge.

Unlike other studies that prescribe macroeconomic cures, Made in America focuses on the reorganization and effective integration of human resources and new technologies within the firm as a principal driving force for long term growth in productivity.

Made in America examines the relationship between human resources and technological change in detail and singles out the most significant productivity weaknesses from the myriad causes that are typically cited. These include short­time horizons and a preoccupation with the bottom line, outdated strategies that focus excessively on the domestic market, lack of cooperation within and among U.S. firms, neglect of human resources, technological failures in translating discoveries to products, and a mismatch between governmental actions and the needs of industry.

Looking ahead Made in America asserts that industrial performance would improve substantially simply by building on what is best in U.S. industry. It describes representative systems of production that can serve as models of best industrial practice for niche producers, price competitive specializedproducers, and flexible mass producers.

Among the goals singled out as national priorities are the creation of a new economic citizenship that involves well­educated workers as active partners in the reproduction process, a new strategic focus on production, finding a better balance between cooperation and individualism, learning to live in an increasingly international economy, and making proper provision for the future both in terms of capital and human resources.

The findings and goals of Made in America are based on such measures of productivity performance as product quality, innovativeness, time to market, and service in eight manufacturing sectors - semiconductors, computers, and office equipment; automobiles; steel; consumer electronics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals; textiles; machine tools; and commercial aircraft. These measures revealed a large gap between the best and average U.S. practice.

Michael L. Dertouzos. is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Director of MIT's Laboratory of Computer Science. Robert M. Solow is Institute Professor of Economics, and Richard K. Lester is Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering,

A study that identifies what is best and worth replicating in American and international industrial practice.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A team of MIT researchers argue that the revitalization of US industry needs not new public policy, but a change in how people learn, produce, work with one another, compete internationally, and provide for the future. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262041003
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/3/1989
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 359
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Tech oracle Michael Dertouzos (1937-2001) offered a learned, accessible, and fascinatingly detailed preview of new information technology and described how it would remake our society, culture, economy, and private lives.

Since 1974 Michael Dertouzos had been Director of the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS). For more than a quarter century, MIT has been at the forefront of the computer revolution. Its members and alumni have been instrumental in the invention of such innovations as time-shared computers, RSA encryption, the Spreadsheet, the NuBus, the X-Window system, the ARPAnet and the Internet. The Lab is currently home to the World Wide Web Consortium, an open forum of companies and organizations led by the Web’s inventor.

Dertouzos had spent much of his career studying and forecasting future technological shifts, and leading his lab toward making them a reality. In a 1976 People magazine interview, he successfully predicted the emergence of a PC in every 3-4 homes by the mid-1990s. In 1980, he first wrote about the Information Marketplace, with an ambitious vision of networked computers that has emerged as the trillion-dollar engine of commerce transforming our economy.

Most recently, Dertouzos has been an advocate for what he calls "human-centric computing" — a radical transformation of the way we use computers. As part of this effort, LCS recently unveiled the $50 million Oxygen project, intended to make computers easier to use and as natural a part of our environment as the air we breathe.

Born in Athens, Greece, Dertouzos came to the U.S. as a Fulbright Scholar. Following a Ph.D. from MIT in 1964, he joined the MIT faculty, where he had been Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.

In 1968 Dertouzos founded Computek Inc. to manufacture and market one of the earliest graphical display terminals, based on one of his patents. He soon became the Chairman of the Board of Computek, where he introduced the first intelligent terminals in the early 1970's. He subsequently sold the company when he became Director of LCS. Since that time, Dertouzos has been involved in several high-tech start-ups, including Picture Tel and RSA. In his consulting activities for companies such as Siemens Nixdorf, UPS, and BASF he has advanced business and Information Technology strategies.

During the Carter Administration, Dertouzos chaired a White House advisory group that redesigned the White House Information Systems. In February of 1995, he represented the U.S. as a member of the U.S. delegation led by Vice President Al Gore to the G7 Conference on the Information Society. In 1998 he was co-chairman of the World Economic Forum on the Network Society in Davos, Switzerland.

Dertouzos was a dual citizen of the U.S. and the E.U. He had worked extensively with the European Commission, in particular as a frequent keynote speaker on ESPRIT and other EC technology programs. For several years he was an adviser to the Prime Minister of Greece, as well as to other governments.

Dertouzos was also a member of the United States National Academy of Engineering and the Athens Academy of Arts and Sciences. He held an honorary doctorate from the University of Athens, and he received the B.J. Thompson Award (best paper) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Terman Award (best educator) of the American Society for Engineering Education. He was a member of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, and has been honored by the Hellenic Republic as Commander of Greece's Legion of Honor.

Dertouzos is the author/co-author of seven books, including MADE IN AMERICA: Regaining the Productive Edge (MIT Press, 1989), with over 300,000 copies in print, and WHAT WILL BE: How the New World of Information Will Change Our Lives (HarperCollins, 1997), which has been translated into thirteen languages.

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