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BYE-BYE, JOBS?

THE JUDAS ECONOMY
The Triumph of Capital and the Betrayal of Work
By William Wolman and Anne Colamosca
Addison-Wesley 240pp $25

Workers of the world, be scared. That's the declaration from BUSINESS WEEK Chief Economist William Wolman and journalist Anne Colamosca in their book, The Judas Economy: The Triumph of Capital and the Betrayal of Work. In the authors' view, the end of the cold war has allowed capital to fly all over the world and land where labor is cheapest and regulation nil. Therefore, laborers in the industrialized world will find themselves marginalized by rivals in China, India, and Mexico, who will do their jobs for less.

The authors argue that not even ''elite workers''--the highly skilled professionals in the U.S., Europe, Canada, and Japan--can assume that education will save them from a sharp decline in living standards. The problem with knowledge, the authors say, is that it can be taught to anyone. If medical transcribers and computer programmers in Beijing can do the job for one-third of the cost of U.S. workers, then businesses will invest their capital in China.

The authors blame weak governments and strong central banks for industrialized economies' woes. In particular, central banks have kowtowed to global bond markets by stressing price stability over growth.

So, what can the industrialized nations do? Become more productive, the authors say, by using public funds for more education, infrastructure, and research and development. Elite workers must create more and better products than their emerging-nation counterparts if they are to justify the higher salaries and perks that they've grown to expect.

By BUSINESS WEEK WRITERS



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PHOTO: Cover, ``The Judas Economy''

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Updated July 31, 1997 by bwwebmaster
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