14 The New International Division of Labour in the World Economy (1980)

Folker Fröbel, Jürgen Heinrichs, and Otto Kreye

Two fundamental issues confront corporate management in 1977. They are:

  • the probability that the post-war era of unusual rapid economic expansion is over, and
  • the probability that the post-war era of unprecedented world economic and political cooperation is coming to an end.

The world’s departure from these patterns could force companies into the most radical and painful reassessments of their plans and strategies in living memory… Growth, translated into improved living conditions, has… become one of the basic expectations of all the world’s citizens, including the poorest. These assumptions clearly must now be challenged. The recent world recession will, hopefully, prove to have been merely an extremely severe one, but 1977 may reveal the recession as the sign-off of an exceptional period in world economic history. Within many nations, the tensions from a prolonged era of no or low growth could ultimately prove explosive… The turmoil within and between nations resulting from the frustration of mass expectations would, in many instances, bring revolution and war to the fore.1

A blueprint for a new economic era published today outlines profound changes in life-styles that will be needed over the next five years to put capitalist societies back on the track for sustained economic growth. The most significant change is a shift away from the consumer-oriented ...

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