chapter  17
14 Pages

Commentary and Implications

WithT. Kelley White

Commenting on the concept of competitiveness has been an interesting exercise forme. To economists the word “competitiveness” has such a connotation of “goodness” that it is difficult to accept that it isn’t a very useful indicator of the condition of an economic unit. Most useful indicators would need to the observable, to be predictors of future change in healthiness and to indicate the illness, disease, injury, policy, economic behavior or change in environment that is the source of the problem. Treatments for economic diseases are most likely policies and other government action at the more aggregate levels and move toward strategic and tactical management action at industry and firm levels. Treatments for economic diseases, at best, are likely to have side effects, some of which can be painful, and may not be predictable. Treatments should be targeted at the root cause of the illness, avoiding the indiscriminate prescription of broad spectrum antibiotics.