Prosperity: The Coming Twenty-Year Boom and What It Means to You


Award-winning Wall Street Journal reporters Bob Davis and David Wessel show conclusively that the recent good economic news is not only here to stay but is just the start of twenty years of broadly shared prosperity. With vivid case studies, they describe the emerging trends that will shape America's economic future.
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Award-winning Wall Street Journal reporters Bob Davis and David Wessel show conclusively that the recent good economic news is not only here to stay but is just the start of twenty years of broadly shared prosperity. With vivid case studies, they describe the emerging trends that will shape America's economic future.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812932003
  • Publisher: Randon House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/4/1999
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob Davis, 47, is a senior special writer for The Wall Street Journal. He has covered the emergence of two of the most powerful forces shaping the late twentieth century: The rise of microprocessor technology and the emergence of the global economy.


As a reporter, he takes what he considers an "everyman" approach. Don't count on him to write a story about how to run a complex computer system. Rather, look for him to try to figure out how overly complex computers affect most Americans and industries.

In his 15 years as a Wall Street Journal reporter, Davis has written about the rise and fall of computer pioneers, the resurrection of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from the disaster of the Challenger explosion, and the attempts by nuclear weapons makers to use military technology for civilian purposes -- beating plutonium into plowshares, as it were.


Most recently, he has written about the effects of global integration on

average Americans. He's been to the Carolinas to see the death and birth of

trade-related industries, to the border region of Mexico to gauge the consequences of cheap labor, and to Asia to assess the tumultuous fall from

grace of nations once hailed as "miracles."


Davis was born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens and lived for six years in Oneonta, N.Y. where he started a newspaper, the Susquehanna Sentinel. He guided the Sentinel for a year (into bankruptcy) and then restructured the newspaper company into a successful printing business. (That is, he escaped with his shirt-a life-shaping event.) He has won a passel of awards for his coverage of science and space, and was nominated for a Pulitzer for his coverage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. (He lost.)


Now he lives with his wife Debbie and his children, Daniel and Joanna, in Washington D.C. His hobbies are reading, writing, and keeping up with his children.


David Wessel, 44 years old, is The Wall Street Journal's chief economic correspondent in Washington. His responsibilities include overseeing coverage of the federal budget, domestic and international economic policy and the Federal Reserve, but he defines his beat more broadly as covering the American standard of living.


He joined The Journal's Boston bureau in 1984. He was offered his present beat in Washington on the day the stock market crashed in October 1987; he denies any connection between the two events and is prepared to testify to that before any grand jury.


Before joining The Journal, he worked for the Boston Globe, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant and theMiddletown (Conn.) Press. He shared a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for a series of Boston Globe stories on the persistence of racism in Boston. In 1996, he and several other Wall Street Journal reporters shared the InterAmerican Press Association award for spot-news coverage for their stories on Mexico's economic and financial crisis.


The Washingtonian magazine included David Wessel on its August 1997 list of the 50 top journalists in Washington, pleasing his parents no end. In June 1995, the same magazine said, "David Wessel, the Wall Street Journal's lead economic reporter, commands remarkable respect. Officials praised his accuracy, his explanatory bent, and his preference for focusing on substance not process."


A native of New Haven, Conn., David graduated from Haverford College with honors in economics. He also spent a year at Columbia University as a Walter F. Bagehot Fellow in Business & Economics Journalism.


David and his wife, Naomi, associate director of the American Bar Association's Commission on Legal Problems of the Elderly, live in Washington, D.C., with their two children, Julia and Benjamin. He is a member of the board of trustees of Temple Sinai and of the research advisory board of the Committee for Economic Development.

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Table of Contents

Foreword to the Paperback Edition
1 Broadly Shared Prosperity: Why the middle class will do better in the decades ahead 3
2 Looking Back to Look Ahead: Lessons from the beginning of the twentieth century 21
3 Plugged In: What the evolution of electricity says about the computer age 26
4 "A People's College": How high schools made broadly shared prosperity possible 43
5 The Golden Age: The rise of the American middle class, 1950-1973 59
6 The Age of Anxiety: A disappointing quarter-century for the middle class, 1973-1996 73
7 The Computer Paradox: Why computers haven't paid off - yet 90
8 Forward to the Future: Why computers finally will power faster economic growth 105
9 The Secret: No Bosses: How reorganizing the workplace will boost productivity 126
10 Alan Greenspan, Optimist at the Top: Why the Fed won't be an obstacle to faster growth 139
11 Dream Catchers: How community colleges will foster prosperity and equality 151
12 Making It Simple: How technology will make life better for less skilled workers 171
13 The Balance of Trade: How foreign trade and investment will benefit the American middle class 188
14 Imports: The Consumer's Friend: How consumers will gain from imports 208
15 Prospering Together: Why Americans and third-world workers will prosper together 218
16 The End of Work? Where the jobs of the future will come from 238
17 What's to Be Done: How to ensure broadly shared prosperity 249
Notes 264
Selected Bibliography 289
Acknowledgments 299
Index 303
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