The Betrayal of American Prosperity: Free Market Delusions, America's Decline, and How We Must Compete in the Post-Dollar Era (Hardcover)

Free Market Delusions, America's Decline, and How We Must Compete in the Post-Dollar Era

By Clyde Prestowitz

Free Press, 9781439119792, 337pp.

Publication Date: May 11, 2010



CONSIDER THIS SHOCKING FACT: while China's number one export to the United States is $46 billion of computer equipment, the number one export from the U.S. to China is waste--$7.6 billion of waste paper and scrap metal.

Bestselling author Clyde Prestowitz reveals the astonishing extent of the erosion of the fundamental pillars of American economic might--beginning well before the 2008 financial crisis--and the great challenge we face for the future in competing with the economic juggernaut of China and the other fast-rising economies. As the arresting facts he introduces show, the U.S. is rapidly losing the basis of its wealth and power, as well as its freedom of action and independence. If we do not make dramatic changes quickly, we will confront a painful permanent slide in our standard of living; the dollar will no longer be the world's currency; our military strength will be whittled away; and we will be increasingly subject to the will of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and various malcontents.

But it doesn't have to be that way. As Prestowitz shows in a masterful account of how we've come to this fateful juncture, we have inflicted our economic decline on ourselves--we abandoned the extraordinary approach to growth that drove the country's remarkable rise to superpower status from the early days of the republic up through World War II. For most of our history, we supported our home industries, protected our market against unfair trade, made the world's finest products--leading the way in technological innovation--and we were strong savers. But in the post-WWII era, we reversed course as our leadership embraced a set of simplistically attractive but disastrously false ideas--that consumption rather than production should drive our economy; that free trade is always a win-win; that all globalization is good; that the market is always right and government regulation or intervention in the economy always causes more harm than good; and that it didn't matter that our factories were fleeing overseas because we were moving to the "higher ground" of services. In a devastating account, Prestowitz shows just how flawed this orthodoxy is and how it has gutted the American economy. The 2008 financial crisis was only its most blatant and recent consequence.

It is time to abandon these false doctrines and to get back to the American way of growth that brought us to world leadership; Prestowitz presents a deeply researched and powerful set of highly practical steps that we can begin implementing immediately to reverse course and restore our economic leadership and excellence.

The Betrayal of American Prosperity
is vital reading for all Americans concerned about the future of the economy and of our power in the coming era.

Praise For The Betrayal of American Prosperity: Free Market Delusions, America's Decline, and How We Must Compete in the Post-Dollar Era

The Betrayal of American Prosperity is no ordinary book; it is in fact a sweeping alternative view of our nation’s perilous economic position in today’s globalizing world. Prestowitz shows not only how the basic premises of our trade policy are seriously flawed, with all the resulting dangers to the U.S. economy, but also how fundamental economic realities are continually being reinterpreted to support and perpetuate these invalid preconceptions.“

-Ralph Gomory, Research Professor, Stern School of Business, New York University; former President of the Sloan Foundation; former Chief Scientist at IBM

“Clyde Prestowitz is an experienced hand at analyzing the economic follies of present-day America. In this new study he brings up to date how close we actually are to losing our prosperity. He demonstrates in lucid detail where we've gone wrong and the arrogance of those who led us there. I cannot recommend too strongly that everyone should read this book.”

-Chalmers Johnson, leading Asia specialist and author of the Blowback trilogy; former Professor at UC Santa Cruz

“The Betrayal of American Prosperity is a wakeup call. It points out to my fellow Americans that, while we still have plenty of opportunity to adopt workable remedies, U.S. economic superiority faces real and imminent threats comparable to those that have led to the decline and fall of many economic empires throughout history. There is urgent need for widespread reading of the book and much to be learned from it.”

-William Baumol, Academic Director of the Berkley Center of Entrepreneurial Studies, New York University; former President of the American Economic Association

“Clyde Prestowitz is a veteran of the trade wars. He was a key architect of a government-industry partnership in the 1980s that actually reversed the loss of market share for one manufacturing industry – semiconductors. Prestowitz is mad and he is not going to take it anymore. He details our national slide towards third-world status with such power that denial becomes no longer an option.”

-Andrew Grove, former Chairman and CEO of Intel and author ofOnly the Paranoid Survive

“Clyde Prestowitz offers an insightful diagnosis of the weakening of the American economy since the 1970s due to the embrace of deeply flawed market fundamentalist arguments. He then presents a persuasive set of steps that could be taken to revitalize the U.S. economy and restore competitiveness. A very worthwhile read.”

-George Soros, Open Society Institute

“Nobody is a more astute critic than Clyde Prestowitz of the illusions that dominate America’s approach to trade, manufacturing, finance, and national security. If our leaders would read The Betrayal of American Prosperity and act on its insights, the U.S. could regain its status as the world’s pre-eminent economic power.”

-Robert Kuttner, Co-Editor, The American Prospect; author, A Presidency in Peril

“The United States is losing ground in the global economy because of a stubborn allegiance to the failed rhetoric of free trade — in the face of the harsh reality of eroding market share, disappearing jobs, stagnant wages, and a lost technological edge. Clyde Prestowitz provides incisive analysis of the policies and policymakers that brought us to the brink of global economic collapse — and then provides a viable roadmap for a coherent national economic strategy to rebuild our economy and our productive base. The Betrayal of American Prosperity is essential reading for workers, activists and policymakers who want to restore the American Dream.”

-Richard L. Trumka, President AFL-CIO

“It is easy to think that the Great Recession was simply caused by an over-heated housing market and Wall Street greed. However, The Betrayal of American Prosperity puts the crisis in proper historical context by showing how our devotion to economic ideology over economic reality for the past 30 years has been bad for America, and its citizens. Our leaders need to learn the lessons Clyde Prestowitz outlines and the way forward he proposes if we are going to truly strengthen the American economy.”

-Dan DiMicco, Chairman & CEO, Nucor Corporation

"A vivid history of American development and trade policy, a fierce indictment of corporate short-termism and slothful public policy, as abetted by too many economists over the years. And, a powerful case for rebuilding America's industrial position to meet the energy and climate challenges we now face."

-James K. Galbraith, author, The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too

“With great insight and clarity, Clyde Prestowitz explains, step by step, how our politicians and business leaders betrayed America at the altar of free trade and unfettered markets. Here’s a clear-eyed guide to what went wrong, what needs fixing, and how America can reclaim its place in the global economy.”

-Robert B. Reich, professor of public policy, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor