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America In Crisis

Sept. 21, 2006
Competitive challenges posed by China can be met by entrepreneurship.

Crisis is an overused word, from the daily crisis at home to the continuing crisis in our schools to crisis management. But in "In China's Shadow" (2006, Yale University Press), a slim book subtitled "The Crisis of American Entrepreneurship," author and former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Reed Hundt makes a powerful case that the competitive challenge posed by China can be met by the renewed and expanded practice of entrepreneurship.

However, Hundt, a principal at Charles Ross Partners LLC, a private investor and business advisory service, and a board member at Intel Corp., is not advocating incremental change. Rather he's calling for disruption. For example, says Hundt, "American workers must support speedy turnover of employers and employees, even though that means everyone will move from job to job more quickly and face greater uncertainty in career progression."

Doing that is likely to be difficult. There's precious little attention being paid to remedying the skills shortage within manufacturing, and virtually none being placed on the larger national goal of making it easier for workers to get the skills and have the opportunities that Hundt claims will lead to rising national income.

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