By Alan Greenspan
Penguin Books, $65.
The combination of an increasingly globalised world economy and a change in the way we do business is rapidly changing the way the world works. In the long term, the sheer velocity of such change could lead us to just about anywhere. But in the short term, in 2030 for example, where will our world be? And what outcomes should we be trying to avoid?
Greenspan’s predictions suggest that the answer to achieving an increase in productivity lies in innovation and ideas. Greenspan suggests that ‘Creative Destruction’, the idea that in order for these new ideas to develop, old ones must be destroyed, offers us the path to success, yet we are anxiously turning away from it. “Confronted with the angst of the baneful side of creative destruction, virtually all of the developed world and an ever-increasing part of the developing world have elected to accept a lesser degree of material well-being in exchange for a reduction of competitive stress.”
Winston Churchill once said “The further backward you look, the further forward you can see.” Greenspan uses the gift of hindsight gained while holding the position of Chairman of the U.S Federal Reserve Board throughout the 1987 stock market crash, the boom and bust of the 90s, and the events surrounding 9/11, to look to the future of both the U.S and global economies.
Reviewed by Sarah Wilson and Willow Henderson, March 2008
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