May 21, 2022

Holstein to Speak About the Asian Challenge

Former OPC President Bill Holstein will speak on his latest book, The Next American Economy: Blueprint For a Real Recovery, at a book night on May 17 at Club Quarters. The event starts at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception. (Read a review from the FT.) OPC member and Executive Editor at Roubini Global Economics Mike Moran will be the Interlocutor.

Holstein covered China’s early modernization efforts in the late 1970s as a correspondent for United Press International and has been deeply involved in coverage of Japan and South Korea as well. China is now the world’s second largest economy, followed closely by Japan.

In his book, Holstein argues that Americans as a whole have largely failed to launch a competitive response to the emergence of the Asian powerhouses, recently joined by India. Now that the financial bubble that propped up housing prices has popped, the United States has no choice but to finally come to grips with raising its technological level. The key is to harness the innovative ideas in America’s universities and research institutes to create industries and jobs in the U.S., rather than allowing them to be siphoned to Asia.

“We have largely lost the power to persuade China or Japan to fundamentally alter their economic expansion strategies in the world,” Holstein says. “We tried with Japan and eventually gave up. Now there is a debate about how to force China to raise the value of its currency, but that is just a pale imitation of the Japan debate. And it can’t work.”

The key to the American response must be in making America’s key institutions — universities, governments, community colleges, large businesses and small businesses — function more cohesively in what Holstein calls a “smarter brand of American capitalism.” He adds: “If we adapt our model, we can remain ahead of China’s emergence. It is not pre-ordained that America gets blown away in the Asian century.”

In a review, the Financial Times described the book in these terms: “The heart of The Next American Economy is nine impressively thorough case studies of ‘clusters’ of successful U.S. businesses, mostly making innovative products such as new types of batteries and adhesives,” the newspaper said. “A veteran reporter, Holstein expended a lot of shoe leather in his researches, from Massachusetts to California, and he does an excellent job of describing what he sees and letting his subjects speak for themselves.”

The publisher is Bloomsbury/Walker. It is Holstein’s fourth commercially available book and follows on the heels of Why GM Matters: Inside The Race to Transform an American Icon, which was published in 2009. Holstein’s Book Night is Tuesday, May 17. Reception begins at 6 p.m. with the Talk at 6:30 p.m. RSVP by calling the OPC office 212-626-9220, e-mail or log into the website and sign up below.