It was inevitable that this primacy should have narrowed as other countries grew richer. Just as inevitably, the retreat from predominance proved painful. By the mid 1980s Americans had found themselves at a loss over their fading indrustrial competitiveness. Some huge American industries, such as consumer electronics, had shrunk or vanished in the face of foreign competition. By 1987 there was only one American television maker left, Zenith. (Now there is none: Zenith was bought by South Korea's LG Electronics in July.) Foreign made cars and textiles were sweeping into the domestic market. America's machine-tool industry was on the ropes. For a while it looked as though the making if semicoductors, which America had invented and which sat at the heart of the new computer age, was going to be the next casualty.
All of this caused a crisis of confidence. Americans stopped taking prosperity for granted. They began to believe that their way of doing business was failing, and that their incomes would therefore shortly begin to fall as well. The mid-1980s brought one inquiry after another into the causes of America's industrial decline. Their sometimes sensational findings were filled with warnings about the growing competition from overseas.
How things have changed! In 1995 the United States can look back on five years of solid growth while Japan has been struggling. Few Americans attribute this solely to such obvious causes as a devalued dollar or the turning of the business cycle. Self doubt has yielded to blind pride. "American industry has changed its structure, has gone on a diet, has learnt to be more quick witted," according to Richard Cavanagh, executive dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. "It makes me proud to be an American just to see how our businesses are improving their productivity," says Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute, a think tank in Washington, DC. And Willian Sahlman of the Harward Business School believes that people will look back on this period as "a golden age of business management in the United States."转帖于 Xue163.com_考研英语