Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyBatra ( The Great Depression of 1990 ) surveys America's economy in this impressive study filled with illuminating statistics. Declaring himself ``privy to knowledge and information crucial to the economic survival of our nation as well as our planet,'' Batra, professor of economics at Southern Methodist University in Texas, here repudiates free trade: ``Manufacturing, not trade, is the main source of prosperity.'' Batra's analysis of federal deficits, deindustrialization and our living standard is piercing. He supports ``competitive protectionism,'' specifically higher tariffs, an industrial policy, banning mergers among giant firms and breaking up ``large firms controlling more than 10 percent of market share in any industry.'' While compelling, Batra does not present a convincing argument that a protectionist America can survive in a world committed to free trade. Fortune Book Club alternate. (June)
Library JournalEconomist Batra here launches a full-frontal attack on four decades of U.S. trade liberalization. The author's previous jeremiads ( The Great Depression of 1990 , LJ 6/15/87; Surviving the Great Depression of 1990 , LJ 3/15/89) struck a chord with the general reading public and forecast much of the 1990-91 recession. In this book, he describes manufacturing, not services, as historically the source of a society's prosperity and social cohesiveness. Our shift to a service-based economy, encouraged by low tariffs on imported manufactures, has driven down most workers' earnings and increased social inequality. The author fondly recalls America's periods of high tariffs, which coincided with rapid economic development, neglecting the international strife that accompanied it. He calls for ``competitive protectionism'' to foster domestic competition and rekindle U.S. innovation. The general public will find his manifesto thought-provoking, though not convincing. Recommended for general collections.-- Michael Stevenson, Harvard Business Sch . Lib.
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