Foreword Review — Jan / Feb 1999
The recent buzz on technology is about how the American economy is moving away from a “product-based” model to a “service” or “intellectual-property” model. How this happens, how it can be sustained and how a company can maintain its leadership or competitive position in the face of a dynamically changing international market is the focus of this excellent book.
Mascitelli offers a comprehensive overview of the history of the American high technology market along with insights into the realities behind the seemingly miraculous successes of countries like Japan and Korea. He explores the abilities of countries to innovate quickly, receive high returns from this innovation and exploit and store experience in the form of technical knowledge. He also looks at the successful and unsuccessful attempts by government to influence innovation by exploring trade policy, subsidies of technological enterprises and the links (or lack of links) between educational institutions and high tech companies.
The book is organized into three major sections: The Global Environment for Technology Enterprises, Creating Advantage in Technology Markets and Strategies for Sustained Market Leadership. Each section is informative, packed with useful background information and offers detailed, thought-provoking examples. The conclusion, entitled “An Economic Argument for Environmental Sustainability” is more of an afterthought than a conclusion, but a very well thought out afterthought and one worth contemplating.
This book is not directed at the novice, but is focused on the business or political community. It is a slow read, which is not a criticism, for the reasons for this are all positive. It is not a “popular economics” or general overview for the average reader. There is a wealth of thoughtful detail and economic theory that needs assimilation if you don’t have a background in this area. Technology itself is not covered, only the means of creating, assimilating and marketing technological innovation. Particularly impressive is Mascitelli’s emphasis on the value of human experience and creativity, and his factoring of the costs of depleting resources and the environment into the complete economic calculation.