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The New Economics

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The New Economics

For Industry, Government, Education

MIT Press,

15 min read
11 take-aways
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Listen to “the high prophet of quality control.”

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Critique W. Edwards Deming’s work at your peril. After all, he probably set whatever standard you’re using. This volume – revised by the author before his death in 1993 and partially based on his 1950s work with the Japanese – may strike the contemporary reader as a curious mixture of seminal process thinking and idiosyncratic ruminations on education. Portions read like an artifact of the early 1990s, but in this regard, however, his volume offers a unique perspective on a turning point in American economic history: the shift to the knowledge-based economy. Deming’s volume is suited to any serious student of management thought, and all human resources professionals should familiarize themselves with his work, which set the foundations for many of the transformations now underway in the corporate world.


Is America a Lousy Trader?

If you were grading the United States on its balance of trade, the grade would be closer to “F” than “A.” In 1910, the United States made fully one-half of the entire manufactured products in the world. North America emerged into the post-World War II era as the only part of the industrialized world whose manufacturing capacity was intact. Now it has been in an economic decline for three decades. Japanese goods started to enter around 1955 and the domestic preference for imported goods gradually grew. Imports of agricultural products have outpaced our exports. What is the cure for this slide in manufacturing? North America must accept that it no longer excels in large volume, low-cost manufacturing. It must elevate its economy based on knowledge, which will translate into specialized products and services. The challenge is educational; it must develop a culture that values learning.

What Business Are You In?

To succeed in your business, you must be able to define it. Are you in the customer-satisfaction business? Certainly, it is good to have loyal, satisfied customers. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the customer expects...

About the Author

W. Edwards Deming’s consulting practice spanned more than 40 years, including major corporations in virtually every industry. Deming is particularly well known for his work in Japan, where he preached the gospel of improving process and quality. The Japanese proved apt students, much to Detroit’s regret. Deming led the sweeping revolution in quality that helped the U.S. stave off competition abroad and, in 1987, was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President Ronald Reagan.

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