Friday, February 15, 2008

The Second XXth Century on

Here is what some readers wrote about the book on

H. E. Frech III.

The collapse of socialism and centralization is the most important and surprising development of the late 20th Century. The more-or-less authoritarian, state-directed form of organization was once considered the only modern, practical approach. Now, it seems quaint. Rosa provides a sweeping explanation of this and the closely related resurgence of democracy and political decentralization, based on the transaction costs analysis of Nobelist Ronald Coase. This analysis is now a staple of applied economics, especially in the field of industrial organization. But Rosa’s application is new. The idea is simple and powerful: advances in communicating and computing reduced the transaction costs of producing and governing with smaller decentralized units, relating through market. Big-picture economic thinking at its best, this book gives the best available explanation of the most important development in the last 50 years. I strongly recommend it.

A reader, Toronto.

“In short: this book documents the evolution, during the twentieth century, of the delicate balance between hierarchies and markets, the key premise being that business and governments face similar organizational challenges. They have to adapt over time. For instance, large, centralized organizations have truly become obsolete.
The same economic analysis employed by managerial economists to understand firms, multinationals and market structures is used here to understand other organizations, such as states, governments and democracies. In particular, Rosa shows the parallel developments of markets and individual rights.
The Information Revolution plays a crucial role here. Of course, books about the consequences of the Information Age are not new. “The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age” (Davidson and Rees-Mogg, 1999) is just one of several noteworthy predecessors. However, Rosa’s book is much more than an economic history book with a technological determinism flavor to it. It uses economic analysis to show how the declining cost of information has affected and continues to affect the optimal sizes of firms and states, and the nature of hierarchies.
This is an excellent read, full of intriguing insights and examples, geared towards the intellectually curious. There is also a fine presentation of a few subjects that will be useful to the average stock market investor: the trend towards downsizing, the decreasing optimal size of companies, and an explanation of the consequences of the M&A vogue (See his chapter 5).
Highly recommended.”

Book description (Hoover Press).

“The worldwide wave of democratization and the nearly total disappearance of communism at the end of the twentieth century were major economic and political changes of our time. These earth-shaking changes lead us to raise the question, Why now? Why did these developments occur as they did, when they did? In this book, Jean-Jacques Rosa offers an analysis of the “grand cycle” in social organization of the twentieth-century. He shows how the transformation in communication and information technology has led to the downfall of twentieth-century political and corporate hierarchies and is a driving force behind today’s democratic free-market trend.
The author reveals the universal contemporary consequences, both good and bad, of the information technology revolution. He explains how it is bringing relentless corporation downsizing and shrinking bureaucratic government structures but will also continue to be a factor in the rise of terrorism and secessionist and regionalist movements around the world. Rosa also brings an important historical perspective to current developments, explaining why democracy was abandoned by nearly every country in the world between the 1920s and 1960s and why totalitarian regimes prospered in the 1950s but began to rapidly fall behind democracies in the 1980s.
Jean-Jacques Rosa’s detailed economic, organizational and technical analysis presents a captivating insight into the history, politics, and ideology of corporations and nation-states at the beginning of the twenty-first century.”

No comments: