Selling our security: the erosion of America's assets

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This is the first book to pinpoint, case by case, name by name, how our political leaders have permitted America's vital technological assets to be sold off to foreign-owned companies - how these leaders have failed to grasp that economic innovation and competitiveness are as important to national security as military hardware. The Tolchins show how technologies developed in the United States have been acquired and commercialized by overseas competitors; how one industry after another has radically declined - automobiles, televisions, telephones, semiconductors, machine tools; how we have lost our lead in supercomputers, optoelectronics, and digital imaging. And they detail the cost in lost jobs, lost national income, lost market share, a lower standard of living, a huge trade deficit - and far too much reliance on foreign sources that can at will raise prices or even withhold products. Is a link trainer to simulate the F-16 fighter plane wanted? The American company that makes it has been sold to a Canadian firm. Do we need rarefied gases critical to the manufacture of almost all semiconductor equipment? The only firm that produces them was sold in 1991 to a Japanese manufacturer. During the Gulf War, U.S. diplomats had to go begging for access to advanced technologies that Americans had invented - and then had sold. How has this happened? The authors argue that while other governments have been working with their industries to secure their nations' economic future, ours has ignored global realities. American presidents, the Congress and regulators, believing their own "free market", laissez-faire rhetoric, have defined national security too narrowly as no more than militarypreparedness. They have ignored their responsibility to secure an industrial base that will allow us to deal from strength. While fully acknowledging that greed and short-sightedness (and offers difficult to refuse) have lured some American executives into mortgaging our future, the Tolchins demonstrate that government ineptitude and political folly bear the final responsibility for our current predicament. Their eagerly anticipated book will have profound repercussions in the political arena.

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SELLING OUR SECURITY: The Erosion of America's Assets

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A deeply disturbing report on Adam Smith run amok—or how the Reagan and Bush Administrations, pursuing laissez-faire free-trade policies, presumably allowed foreign competitors to undermine the ... Read full review

Selling our security: the erosion of America's assets

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see Romm, Joseph J. The Once & Future Superpower. Read full review


The Lonely Playing Field
The Overseas Investment Challenge
Holding On to the Technological Edge

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About the author (1992)

Tolchin has been covering congressional ethics for forty years, mainly in the pages of his Washington weekly, The Hill.

Tolchin is a distinguished professor at George Mason University's Institute for Public Policy.

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